New Delhi: Australia has suspended all direct passenger flights from India until May 15, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday. The pause on arrivals will be reassessed before May 15, Morrison added. The country down under joined the list of countries that have suspended flights to and from India. They include the US, France, Hong Kong, Canada and the UK.
The Australian authorities announced the decision after a meeting of the Cabinet’s national security committee was held to consider a temporary restriction on flights from India along with what equipment and assistance could be sent. As per the local newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald, the flight suspension is expected to affect direct flights to Sydney and two repatriation flights scheduled to arrive in Darwin.
The announcement comes at a time when many Australian cricket players are in India and playing for the Indian Premier League. The move will likely affect thousands of people, who have been away from their home country. There are about 9,000 Australians in India who are registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as wanting to return home.
Additionally, all indirect flights coming from India via Singapore, Doha, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur have also been paused by their respective governments.
India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days. While hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds, the unprecedented rise in COVID-19 infections have stirred Indian authorities to scramble for Oxygen supply sources. On Monday, the country recorded 3,52,991 cases on Monday, the highest so far. The cases showed a mild dip on Tuesday, with 3,23,144 new COVID-19 cases pushing the total tally of the country to 1,76,36,307 cases on Tuesday. More than 2700 people lost their lives in the last 24 hours. As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as many as 2771 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.
(With Inputs from PTI)