Australian Prime Minister says Australian government organised repatriation flights from India will resume shortly to bring stranded Australians back.
NRI Affairs News Desk
After the cabinet meeting on Friday morning, Mr Morrison said, “The pause in direct flights from India would be further reviewed next week. The Federal Government would not be resuming direct commercial flights from India and instead has invited states and territories to participate in receiving additional repatriation flights.”
– Australian Prime Minister says the repatriation flights from India will resume bringing stranded Australians back.
– The Federal Government would not be resuming direct commercial flights from India and instead have invited States and territories to participate in receiving additional repatriation flights.
According to Mr Morrison, the initial responses from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland were positive.
He said that these states “indicated they would be responding positively to that invitation.”
Mr Morrison said, “SA is also considering it very favourably. They have a flight due to come in from Malaysia on the 15th of May, I believe. We anticipate that there will be people aboard that flight who will have already been in Malaysia for a period of a week or two perhaps.”
The Prime Minister said that the number of repatriation flights would double this month from 3 to 6, but “those details will be confirmed with the states and territories.”
Australia had paused all flights from India, which is in the grip of a deadly second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government was facing flak on social media and from the Indian community, particularly for changes to the Biosecurity Act that would mean Australians could face up to five years in jail and heavy fines if they flee India to return home.
Many have spoken against this decision which has left over 9,000 Australians stranded in India in limbo.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says he stands by advice on India travel ban.
“With the data we had in terms of the increasing cases coming from India, where they have had over 2 million cases in the past week, with thousands of deaths, the contrast between their expense and our experience, and I joined the PM in my heart going out to people in India and those with loved ones in India,” said Professor Kelly
“We had to take that into account to protect Australia using the data we had last week. And it’s working.”
No second state-run quarantine facility
Prime Minister Morrison said that there was no recommendation to have a second Commonwealth run quarantine facility.
“(Howard Springs) is an incredibly well-run facility with a 100% success rate,” he said.
“But when you move around the rest of the country, they have a 99.99% success rate in quarantine facilities, and that is an enviable position for any country in the world.
“Outbreaks from time to time can cause concern in the community. I understand. Let’s not forget those breaches are a rarity in Australia compared to what we see overseas.”
Australians with COVID-19 will not be repatriated
Prime Minister said that we don’t (accept) passengers coming into our country who are infected with COVID-19.
He said, “Australia is not alone in that requirement, that we don’t (accept) passengers coming into our country who are infected with COVID-19. That is a clear port of entry requirement. And will be holding the line on that just as we are holding the line when it comes to the biosecurity determination which was put in place until May 15 with no changes.”
“That is what our High Commissioner and consulate team do every single day, all the time, not just during COVID, but any given time.”
The Prime Minister said that his Government wants to bring people home and also to make sure that the country remains safe.
Mr Morrison said that he would be speaking to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi later this evening.