Australia to Resume Repatriation Flights From India on May 15
Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, speaks during a news conference in the courtyard at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. (Photographer: Mark Graham/Bloomberg)

Australia to Resume Repatriation Flights From India on May 15

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Australia will resume repatriation flights for citizens stranded in pandemic-hit India from May 15, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

Three flights are planned for May, aiming to evacuate some of the 900 Australians in India considered to be vulnerable to the pandemic to a facility in the Northern Territory, Morrison told reporters in Newcastle on Friday. There’s been no decision on the resumption of normal commercial flights from the country, he said.

While Morrison’s government has said the ban on allowing citizens in India from returning home, implemented on April 27, was necessary to relieve stresses and backlogs on Australia’s hotel-quarantine system, it’s been criticized for threatening to implement punishments on people defying the ban that include five years in jail and around $50,000 in fines. About 9,000 citizens are in India.

Australia Defends Ban on Citizens Returning From Virus-Hit India

Morrison said on Friday the ban has been necessary “to prevent a third wave of Covid-19 here in Australia, but also to ensure that we can put ourselves in a stronger position to bring Australian citizens, Australian residents and their direct families home safely to Australia.”

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