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

The restrictions come into effect from May 3 and breaching the ban risks civil penalties and up to five years imprisonment Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a statement

Neela Janakiramanan, an Australian surgeon with family in India said the decision to "criminalise" Australians returning from India was disproportionate and overly punitive.

India's Covid-19 crisis spiked out of control this week with daily deaths exceeding 3,000.

Australia on Tuesday announced a temporary ban on direct passenger flights from India following a massive surge in coronavirus infections.

The revision of the pause on people arriving indirectly from India comes after Australia banned all direct flights from India earlier this week.

"The government does not make these decisions lightly", Health Minister Greg Hunt said in the 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.

Some state premiers had earlier voiced concerns about rising coronavirus cases in quarantine hotels, calling for a suspension on flights from India.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly and foreign affairs officials have been putting together a list of high-risk countries for consideration.

Australian citizens returning home from India could face up to five years in jail and fines after the government made the journey temporarily illegal.

Some Australians, including cricketers Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson, reportedly took advantage of a loophole to return from India via Doha.

Coronavirus: EU sues AstraZeneca for breach of vaccine delivery contract
Ventilators, therapeutics, rapid testing kits and personal protective equipment will be sent as well, the White House said.

A wreath lies on the coffin of a Covid-19 victim prior to cremation in Jammu, northern India.

More than 200,000 people have died of Covid-19 in India.

"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 in a statement.

He said that those arriving in Kenya within the said 72 hours from India shall undertake mandatory testing and those who test positive for Covid-19 shall would be isolated for 14 days at their own cost.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also said cricketers will not get preferential treatment.

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 country reported zero new cases of community transmission on Tuesday. India has the world's fastest-growing caseload.

Australia is sending over ventilators, a "significant" supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and oxygen concentrators.

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