By SAT News Desk
MELBOURNE, 1 May 2021: After banning inbound flights from India till May 15, Australia has now paused travelers from India entering Australian territory if the passenger has been in India within 14 days of the person’s intended arrival date in Australia. This further tightening and 5 years jail term, a $66,000 fine, or both for those breaking the ban is being seen to lessen the pressure on quarantine facilities in Australia.
A media release from Greg Hunt Minister for Health and Aged Care says, ” The temporary pause follows today’s meeting (30 April) of National Cabinet and was based on advice about the worsening COVID-19 situation in India. The pause will come into effect at 12.01 am on Monday, 3 May 2021.
The risk assessment that informed the decision was based on the proportion of overseas travelers in quarantine in Australia who have acquired a COVID-19 infection in India.”
“Failure to comply with an emergency determination under the Biosecurity Act 2015 may incur a civil penalty of 300 penalty units, five years’ imprisonment, or both.
The temporary pause will be reconsidered on 15 May by the Government following advice from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO). The CMO will consider the epidemiology in India and likely impacts on Australia’s quarantine capacity, and provide a further expert assessment of the public health risk to Australia to inform a proportionate response.”
“While sympathizing with the COVID-hit Indian people, the statement says, ” The Government does not make these decisions lightly. 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,” the media release says.
Commenting on the Government’s inhumane decision to abandon Australian citizens in India, Peter Khalil, Federal Member for Wills says, “This decision to ban Australians in India from coming home is inhumane and flies in the face of all our values as Australian citizens.
The government’s most basic responsibility is to protect its citizens, and that responsibility doesn’t end at the border.
“All Australians have the right to come home and it’s disgraceful that the government has taken that right away from thousands of our fellow citizens.”
Meanwhile, an epidemiologist told the ABC that the India flight ban shows a ‘lack of confidence by the Scott Morrison government.
In a statement the Subcontinent Friends of Labor (SCFOL, Victoria) Chairperson, Mr. Manoj Kumar says, “We strongly stand in solidarity with Australians stuck in India and demand Australian government to make the necessary arrangements to ensure their health and safety and bring them back safely from India to Australia.
If Australians can’t come to Australia in this difficult situation, then where they will go. Yes, the Australian Government has to stop the virus from spreading in Australia. However, they must show leadership and come with the best alternative solution to protect Australians facing deep trouble overseas. Prime Minister Scott Morrison must come forward to bring back home around 9000 Australians stuck in India.”