Wednesday, 12 May, 2021

Covid 19 coronavirus: Australia defends hard-line stance on India travel ban

Australia Will Block All Arrivals From India Australia imposes fines up to $66K if citizens fly home from India during COVID-19 spike
Cecil Davis | 04 May, 2021, 02:06

"Australia has obligations to our citizens, to people who are Australians - not just to abandon them overseas but then to threaten them is quite an extraordinary action", Albanese was quoted by media reports here on Sunday.

Naturally people were taken aback that Andrew Bolt not only called out racism for what it was, but that he actually made a good point that most of Australia agrees with.

On Monday, the daily COVID-19 cases in India showed a slight dip with 3,68,147 new coronavirus infections, taking the total tally of cases to 1,99,25,604, according to the Union Health Ministry.

India recorded more than 300,000 new COVID-19 cases for the 12th straight day on Monday, with experts warning the real number could be up to 10 times higher due to limited testing.

"It has been put in place to ensure that we do not get a third wave here in Australia and that our quarantine system can remain strong", he said, adding that it is in the country's "best interests".

"We have to remember that our primary aim has to keep Australia safe at this point, and that was the information we were given on public health grounds".

The Government will reconsider the travel ban on May 15 after advice from Australia's chief medical officer.

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

From Monday, May 3, people who have been to India in the past 14 days will be banned from entering Australia due to the concerns over India's growing coronavirus epidemic, which saw nearly 400,000 cases in a single day on Sunday.

Scott Morrison said this is a temporary arrangement and a very hard decision.

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Those tests were not prohibited under United Nations sanctions. South Korea and Australia are attending the meeting as guests.

Dr Miller blasted the government's "precautionary measure" today, apologising live on-air to Indian-Australians. "These are the things I have to do to ensure we can do that", he said.

He said that he wants to get those repatriation flights running safely again.

"It is not Australian to trap people overseas, and to suggest that a particular segment of the community should get fined for this is absolutely unacceptable and outrageous", he said.

"There is infrastructure, this is a country which is a first-world country", he said.

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.

Questions have been raised about the legality of the travel pause as well, with Julia Kretzenbacher, president of civil rights group Liberty Victoria, saying that the government's actions are "not the least restrictive or least intrusive way of protecting Australians", and thus could be a violation of Australia's worldwide obligations.

"Indian-Australians are seeing this as a racist policy because we are being treated different than people from other countries who have had similar waves of infection like the USA, the United Kingdom and Europe".

"We saw awful scenes in Europe, we saw terrible scenes in the United States, United Kingdom, but we didn't say the sort of rhetoric that we've seen [regarding India], nor the sort of announcement of pretty heavy-handed measures in relation to those nations", she said.

"So they are the ones paying the price for us now".