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Australia bans passenger flights from India till May 15

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the decision will be reviewed before May 15.

April 27, 2021 / 10:31 AM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Australia has suspended all passenger flights from India until May 15. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on April 27 said that all flights from India to Australia will be temporarily halted.

Morrison said the suspension would remain in place until at least May 15 due to "clearly present" risks of travel from India, leaving thousands of Australians -- including high-profile cricketers -- stranded. Morrison said that the decision will be reviewed before May 15.

Morrison also said Australia would send medical aid, including oxygen tanks, ventilators and personal protective equipment, to India as its health system strains under the growing caseload.

Morrison said India was enduring a "terrible humanitarian crisis" that was also hitting Australian families with ties to the country. "The scenes that we're seeing from India are truly heartbreaking," he said.

Morrison stressed that the suspension was not a permanent measure, saying repatriation flights would resume with the "most vulnerable" given priority.

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"We don't think the answer is to forsake those Australians in India and just shut them off, as some seem to suggest," he said, adding there would be no special treatment for cricketers currently playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Australia had already limited the number of flights from India in an effort to control the spread of coronavirus, which has largely been contained Down Under.

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The decision comes amid a massive rise in COVID-19 infections in India. The second COVID-19 wave has also triggered a shortage of hospital beds, medical oxygen and medicines.

The surge has prompted several countries to slap travel restrictions on India. Countries, including the UK, Hong Kong, Canada, Italy, Singapore and Thailand have already banned the entry of travellers from India, while the US and Germany have issued advisories.

Maldives and Bangladesh, too, have barred travellers from India.

Meanwhile, India's daily rise in coronavirus cases retreated from record levels on April 27 but stayed above the 3,00,000 mark for a sixth straight day.

With 323,144 new cases, India's overall caseload now stands at 17.64 million. Deaths from COVID-19 rose by 2,771 to reach a total of 197,894, according to health ministry data.

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first published: Apr 27, 2021 10:23 am
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