Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the India travel ban imposed on 3 May will likely come to an end on May 15.
According to the ban, from May 3, Australians who travelled to India in the last 14 days will be prohibited from entering Australia due to concerns over India’s escalating Covid-19 pandemic, which nearly saw 400,000 cases in a single day on Sunday.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said any individual who overlooked the new restrictions would confront five years’ imprisonment, a fine of $66,600, or both.
Australian Government received a backlash for implementing the travel ban
The Australian government has come under the scrutiny and faced a major backlash for their act not just from the Indian community but also the members of the government. Media houses addressed, it is the first time that Australians have been criminalized for attempting to get back to their nation. No comparable measures were set up at the height of the Covid-19 epidemics in the UK and the US.
Speaking to sunrise, Morrison said the purpose of the temporary travel suspension was to give Australia time to prepare to safely repatriate and quarantine returned travellers.
“We needed to take a pause to make sure we put Australia in a safer position to bring people safely home,” he explained. Morrison also added that, the ban was a temporary two week pause and not a four months lockdown. All they wanted to ensure was the country does not face a third wave of COVID-19.
Prime Minister defends the Travel ban
Responding to the criticism faced over the travel ban, he defended the government’s policy and all accusations against it. “There is a raging pandemic, and we need to just continue to make decisions that are in the best health interests of Australia”
There are an estimated 9000 Australians stranded in India with a hope of returning to Australia. “At least open the doors for us … By closing borders, you have just killed our hope,” says Pankaj Sharma who is stranded in India for the past 8 months.
Looing at the brighter side, from May 15, all flights from India to Australia will resume back in operation.
Gaura Travel flights will be running as scheduled. The current dates available are 28 May, 4 June and 11 June.