The first Australian repatriation flight from India only departs with half the passengers due to corona infections.
More than 40 people, who have been detained in the country since the beginning of May, have tested positive, according to local media. They and their close contacts are not yet allowed to return; 70 others are.
Friday’s flight is the first of three the government has already scheduled. Those authorities banned all travellers from India because of the corona crisis but came back after much criticism. Although international borders have primarily been closed for over a year, Australian citizens and residents have always been allowed to return from abroad.
There are approximately 9,000 Australian citizens and residents in India who wish to return home. Australia wants to have a thousand of them repatriated by the end of June. Vulnerable people are given priority. They must be tested for the coronavirus before departure and may only go with a negative result.
Passengers must be quarantined for two weeks upon return. This happens in Howard Springs, among others. The remote quarantine facility in that northern city can now receive 1,000 people every two weeks. The government wants to double the capacity by June.
The entry ban for people from India will last until Saturday. Until then, people without an Australian nationality or residence permit are prohibited from coming to Australia. The violation carries a fine or imprisonment, just like ignoring the quarantine duty in the country.