Australians coming back from India to face 5 years in jail

Australians coming back from India to face 5 years in jail

Australians coming back from India to face 5 years in jail

"The government should be looking for ways to safely quarantine Australians returning from India, instead of focusing their efforts on prison sentences and harsh punishments".

Australia on Monday defended its decision to penalize its own citizens entering the country within two weeks of being in COVID-ravaged India, saying it had "strong, clear and absolute" belief the move was legal.

Australia's former Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane pointed out the "inconsistency" in the government's policy, noting bans and criminal penalties weren't imposed on Australians returning from other nations at the height of their Covid waves.

Indirect routes via Doha, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore have also been closed off, as the daily tally of COVID-19 cases in India tops 400,000.

The move is part of strict measures to stop travellers to Australia from the world's second most populous nation as it contends with a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

"About 15 per cent of our Howard Springs facility now has COVID in it, and almost all of that has been from returning Indians in recent weeks".

Mr Morrison said it was a temporary arrangement in place while quarantine and testing are strengthened.

"We are giving those quarantine systems a breather so that we can have surety that they will be safe and infections won't spread throughout the Australian community".

The decision will be reviewed on 15th May.

"That has been our benchmark that we have agreed with the states and territories right throughout", he said.

Foreign airlines like Emirates continue to offer service to Australia
Foreign airlines like Emirates continue to offer service to Australia

Speaking on local radio on Monday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the decision had been taken "in the best health interests of Australia".

He said that he feels bad for the Indian community and wants repatriation flights running safely again.

"Terrible scenes in India and we certainly have great empathy for Indian-Australians who are now stuck there for the time being, but also their families here in Australia and we are really committed to getting them back after that pause", he said.

At its current pace, Australia's adult population will likely be fully vaccinated by August 2023, according to projections by the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said India arrivals accounted for 57% of positive cases in quarantine, up from 10% in March.

"I think that is a deliberate political strategy to distract from their failure to build quarantine facilities that would have enabled Australians returning home more effectively". "Australia is their country, with a duty of care to them", he continued.

Australian media report this will be the first time Australians have been criminalized for returning to their country.

Australia's decision to ban arrivals from India comes on the back of similar travel bans by other nations, including the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese called the decision "extraordinary", adding: 'The government's got to justify how it is that the figures from India are similar to what they've been in the past from the United Kingdom and the U.S., but we haven't seen these sort of measures.

Relatives transport the body of a Covid victim to a crematorium in New Delhi, India on May 1.

Related news

[an error occurred while processing the directive]