Australians Arriving From Covid-Hit India Could Face 5 Years' Jail, Fine

Eloise Marshall
May 2, 2021

The massive penalties will last as long as the travel ban on arrivals from India, which will be reassessed on May 15.

"The pause will come into effect at 12.01am on Monday, May 3, 2021", he said.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed Australian citizens in virus-stricken India could face hefty fines up to $66,000 and even jail time if they try to return home.

Failure to comply with the policy could result in five years imprisonment.

'The government does not make these decisions lightly.

The decision will be revised on May 15 following advice from the chief medical officer (CMO).

The move aims at keeping the coronavirus spread in check in Australia as India is facing a surge in infections cases.

With over 9000 Australians in India, the Federal Government has indicated they will restart repatriation flights as soon as they can, but with coronavirus rampant in India, that could be months away.

Australia had already paused flights from India due to the soaring number of Covid infections, however some people were allowed to travel to Australia after transitioning through Qatar's capital Doha.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rejected calls for charter flights to return thousands of citizens - including high-profile cricketers - stranded in India.

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India recorded 360,960 new infections in the last 24 hours, the largest in a single day taking the country's tally of infections to almost 18 million.

India's spiralling coronavirus crisis was today laid bare as images circulated on social media of the bodies of 22 coronavirus victims stuffed into an overloaded ambulance to be taken to the crematorium.

The country of 25 million has recorded fewer than 30,000 cases since the pandemic began and 910 deaths, with no major outbreaks since a year ago and most parts of the country under few restrictions.

More than 200,000 people have died of Covid-19 in India.

Australia earlier this week banned all flights from India to relieve pressure on the nation's system of mainly quarantining returned residents from overseas in inner-city hotels, after a jump in infections.

"The friends and family of those in Australia are in extreme risk".

The decision is based on the number of positive cases from India detected in the country's quarantine facilities, Hunt said.

On Friday, India reported 386,452 new Covid cases.

"It is a humanitarian crisis and one gripping the world", Morrison said.

Australia is sending over ventilators, a "significant" supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and oxygen concentrators.

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