Australia govt bans arrivals from India, says offenders face jail, fines

Katie Ramirez
May 2, 2021

The Federal Government is anxious that arrivals from India are putting Australia's strict quarantine system at risk.

Indirect routes from India via Doha, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore have also been banned.

Travellers from India are banned from entering Australia until at least May 15, when the decision will be reassessed.

'The risk assessment that informed the decision was based on the proportion of overseas travellers in quarantine in Australia who have acquired a Covid-19 infection in India, ' Mr Hunt said.

The pause will come into effect at 12.01am on Monday, May 3.

Over 9,000 Australians are now stuck in India waiting to get a flight back home.

This could put the Australian cricketers, who are now part of the Indian Premier League (IPL), travel plans in jeopardy and could land them up in jail or they would have to pay hefty fines, once the tournament is over by the end of May.

"The government does not make these decisions lightly", Hunt said in a statement. "However, it is critical the integrity of the Australian public health and quarantine systems is protected and the number of COVID-19 cases in quarantine facilities is reduced to a manageable level", Hunt said.

India's coronavirus death toll neared the bleak milestone of 200,000 with another 2,771 fatalities reported on Tuesday, while its armed forces pledged urgent medical aid to help battle the staggering spike in infections.

Mr Hunt has said Australians left stranded in India by the federal government's flight ban are a "top priority".

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"Whilst there's some very high-profile people in India who are getting some publicity, there's also Australian citizens who are doing it really tough", he told reporters in Sydney.

He said National Cabinet wanted flights from India restarted "as soon as possible" after the May 15 reassessment date. However, some Australians, including cricketers Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson, returned via Doha.

India recorded 360,960 new infections in the last 24 hours, the largest in a single day taking the country's tally of infections to almost 18 million.

The worsening Covid-19 crisis in India has spiralled in recent weeks.

Over 19.1 million cases of the virus have been registered in the country with 211,000 deaths.

"The friends and family of those in Australia are in extreme risk".

India is now seeing a COVID-19 crisis as the second state with the largest number of detected COVID-19 cases in the world.

The country reported zero new cases of community transmission on Tuesday.

"It is a humanitarian crisis and one gripping the world", Morrison said.

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