Australia will allow its citizens to return from India from next week. The decision was made after criticisms of the suspension of travel traffic with India, which has left Australians and people with Australian residence permits trapped there.
Due to the many corona infections in India, it is no longer possible to fly from India to Australia since April 27. According to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, exceptions for his own people were not possible because he did not want to risk the third wave. This led to criticism from parliamentarians, expats and the Indian community, among others.
Since the start of the pandemic, Australian residents abroad have always been able to return but have had to spend two weeks in hotel quarantine when they return. In the case of India, this is not allowed for fear that the quarantine sites will be overloaded. Violating the entry ban by returning via another country carries fines and a prison sentence of up to five years.
Australia will charter three flights between May 15 and May 31 to repatriate some 900 people in India who have been identified as vulnerable, Morrison now said. The government estimates that approximately 9,000 Australian citizens and residents are in India. Those who wish to return must have a negative corona test before their return and be in hotel quarantine in Australia.
Morrison says his government is unlikely to resume commercial flights from India any time soon. Instead, he has asked the authorities for additional repatriation flights.