Amid COVID-19 surge, Australia suspends passenger flights from India until May 15


Canberra [Australia]: Australia has suspended all direct passenger flights from India due to a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Tuesday.

Morrison announced that all flights from India to Australia will be halted until May 15 at the earliest.

According to Xinhua, the Australian Prime Minister said that indirect flights through other cities were suspended by their governments, and repatriation flights run by the Australian government aimed at getting Australian residents and citizens stranded in India home would resume as soon as possible.

“We don’t think the answer is to just forsake those in India and just shut them off,” Morrison told reporters after a meeting of the National Security Committee, as reported by Xinhua.

Morrison also said Australia would provide an “initial” support package, including ventilators, masks, surgical gowns, goggles, gloves, and face shields, to India.

Marise Payne, the minister for foreign affairs, said there had been an increase in the number of Australians in India registering to come home with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“When I spoke to the High Commissioner this morning, we touched on this challenge (of people wanting to return),” she said. “They are all over India, literally in every single corner of the country.”

“That does make the process challenging but we will stay in touch with them and provide any support we are able to.”

India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic and has been reporting over 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases in the past few days.

India reported 3.23 lakh fresh coronavirus cases and 2,771 related deaths in the last 24 hours.