“The results were leaked to the media before they even notified the positive results to the individuals that got affected,” some members claimed.
NRI Affairs Correspondent
Image: NRI Affairs
Members of the Australian-Indian community have raised questions about the leaking of the information on the number and the percentage of COVID positive cases among the 150 passengers scheduled to board the first repatriation flight from India at the end of the controversial travel ban from that country.
They claim that the number of COVID positive cases was leaked to the media even before the individual who had tested positive had been notified.
One of the members of the facebook group ‘Australians Stuck in India’ told NRI Affairs, “Our group, Australians stuck in India, this is the group that people come to for information and help. One of the things out group admins do is we also run what’s app groups to assist people who have tickets. We do this for Air India flights and also dfat flights.”
“We have been in contact with and directly helping these passengers.”
“We know for a fact that the information was in the media in Australia before passengers in India knew of their own test results. We know this because we were in real time contact with the passengers impacted.”
“Did you know, the passengers who tested positive were asked to leave the hotel at 2pm yesterday. Where are they meant to go? What happens to them now?”
A Qantas jet touched down at Darwin this morning, reportedly carrying 80 returned travellers. It was originally scheduled to carry 150 passengers, but late yesterday, the Australian media reported that 40 passengers had returned positive results to COVID-19, and another 30 were not allowed to board as they were declared close contacts.
According to reports, no additional passengers were called to board the flight instead.
According to Manoj Yandapally, who is an Admin at the ‘Australians stuck in India’ Facebook page, “There are many waiting for results and worried to the core that it might be them that got positive. I will leave this to DFAT, AHC & media to think again and question yourself if you have done the right thing.”.
“All Aussies that tested positive were asked to leave the hotel in Delhi immediately. And many have come from different parts of the country, and most of the hotels won’t let a Covid patient in and other states need a Covid report to enter; where would these people go.
“Go and ask the kids that wanted to see their mum & dad and couldn’t, go and ask the crying spouses that can’t meet their loved ones in 2 weeks, go and ask the parents that can’t see and hug their kids in 2 weeks.”, Manoj added.
“Did you guys ever question the incompetent AHC Australia in India?” he asked.
Another member of the group Karishma Mahanta said, “I thought being offered a seat on the dfat flights was like winning a lottery and I was really envious of people who got the invite from dfat for the flight. Now I shudder to think what these people who have tested positive will do. The ones who don’t have a home in Delhi, where will they go? This is a criminal blunder and someone has to be held accountable for this mess. (sic)”
There are around 9,000 Australians citizens and permanent residents stranded in India for months due to pandemic related travel restrictions.
The passengers who have tested positive will only be eligible for the future repatriation flights after they can prove they no longer have the virus. Another repatriation flight is due later next week.
We have contacted DFAT for a comment and the response is awaited.
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