SYDNEY: Australia on Tuesday joined a rising variety of international locations to impose a brief ban on direct passenger flights from India, because the South Asian nation battles an unprecedented surge in coronavirus infections.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison mentioned the suspension would stay in place till a minimum of Might 15 on account of “clearly current” dangers of journey from India, leaving hundreds of Australians — together with high-profile cricketers — stranded.
It follows comparable strikes by international locations together with Canada, the United Arab Emirates and Britain to halt or prohibit flights in response to the spiralling COVID disaster.
Morrison additionally mentioned Australia would ship medical support, together with oxygen tanks, ventilators and private protecting tools, to India as its well being system strains below the rising caseload.
The nation of 1.three billion individuals recorded 352,991 new infections and a couple of,812 deaths on Monday — its highest ranges for the reason that pandemic started.
Morrison mentioned India was enduring a “horrible humanitarian disaster” that was additionally hitting Australian households with ties to the nation.
“The scenes that we’re seeing from India are really heartbreaking,” he mentioned.
The flight ban comes a day after authorities lifted stay-at-home orders for 2 million individuals in Perth, in Australia’s west, the place a snap lockdown was imposed after a person who returned from his marriage ceremony in India contaminated others in quarantine.
The virus then unfold to others in the neighborhood, prompting calls from some state leaders for Canberra to toughen its strategy to journey from the subcontient.
Morrison burdened that the suspension was not a everlasting measure, saying repatriation flights would resume with the “most susceptible” given precedence.
“We do not suppose the reply is to forsake these Australians in India and simply shut them off, as some appear to recommend,” he mentioned, including there could be no particular remedy for cricketers presently taking part in within the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Australia had already restricted the variety of flights from India in an effort to regulate the unfold of coronavirus, which has largely been contained Down Underneath.
Earlier this month, neighbouring New Zealand imposed a brief block on all travellers from India, shutting out returning Kiwis for the primary time for the reason that pandemic emerged.
Australia closed its worldwide borders to most non-citizens in March 2020 and people allowed to journey should spend 14 days in quarantine accommodations on their return.
The nation of 25 million has recorded fewer than 30,000 circumstances for the reason that pandemic started and 910 deaths, with no main outbreaks since final 12 months and most components of the nation having fun with few restrictions.