Australia carried out its first repatriation flight from India after briefly banning all journey from the COVID-ravaged nation final month, the federal government stated, with 80 passengers arriving in Darwin on Saturday from New Delhi.
Passengers needed to present two damaging COVID-19 exams earlier than boarding the government-backed Qantas flight and had been taken upon arrival to a transformed mining camp in Howard Springs within the Northern Territory for a two-week quarantine.
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The Australian authorities got here below hearth for briefly barring all journey to and from India final month, a coverage that drew heavy criticism from lawmakers, expatriates and the Indian diaspora.
A complete of 70 passengers had been barred from boarding the flight on Friday after they or their shut contacts examined constructive for the coronavirus.
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“We’re following the medical recommendation and guaranteeing that we defend Australians right here and I am happy that that first flight has arrived, and clearly there will likely be extra flights to return,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stated in a televised briefing.
“It is vital to do the testing that we’re doing proper now, earlier than folks come on these planes to Australia. That is the method we’re following, and we are going to proceed to comply with.”
Two extra Royal Australian Air Drive repatriation flights to the Northern Territory are scheduled this month, with about 1,000 folks deliberate to return by the tip of June. About 9,000 Australians in India have registered with the federal authorities, requesting to return house.
The federal government goals to greater than double the capability of the quarantine facility in Howard Springs, 25 km (16 miles) southeast of town of Darwin, in order that it will probably address the arrival of two,000 folks each two weeks from June.
India has reported greater than 300,000 infections a day over the previous three weeks, overwhelming its well being care system and leaving many with out hospital beds, oxygen and satisfactory remedy.
In contrast, Australia has been one of many world’s most profitable nations in curbing the pandemic, with snap lockdowns, border closures and swift contact-tracing. It has reported just below 29,950 coronavirus infections and 910 COVID-19 deaths because the pandemic began.