Australia Bans Flights From India Due to Hotel Quarantine Risk


Australia is banning all flights from pandemic-ravaged India until at least May 15 as the South Asian nation battles what Prime Minister Scott Morrison described as a “terrible crisis.”

In a bid to ease pressure on Australia’s system of mainly quarantining returned residents from overseas in inner-city hotels, Morrison had already announced last week a 30% cut in flights entering from India. There are mounting concerns that hotels are ill-equipped to contain the virus, and cases have leaked into the community in the past month triggering snap lockdowns in Brisbane and Perth.

“What is concerning is the increase in the percentage of cases in hotel quarantine that have their origins in India,” Morrison said Tuesday.

Seeking to relieve the humanitarian crisis, Australia will send more than 500 ventilators, 1 million surgical masks and other medical equipment to India, Morrison said after the decision by his Cabinet’s National Security Committee on Tuesday.

Australia joins nations including the U.S., U.K., France and Canada to ban flights from India, which has become the global epicenter of the pandemic. The country recorded 352,991 new virus cases on Sunday, the fifth consecutive day it set a world record for a single-day increase in Covid-19 infections.

In a blow for residents overseas trying to return to Australia, South Australia on Tuesday announced it was indefinitely suspending all international flights into the state to relieve pressure on its quarantine system, while Western Australia has halved its intake.

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