Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday said the temporary pause on flights from India to Australia will end at May 14 midnight and facilitated commercial flights by the Australian Government will resume as promised, with a strict pre-flight testing regime.
In a Facebook post, Morrison said, “At midnight tonight, the temporary pause on flights from India to Australia ends and facilitated commercial flights by the Australian Government will resume as promised, with a strict pre-flight testing regime to keep Australians safe.”
“The pause gave our quarantine system much-needed breathing space to minimize the risk of COVID-19 getting out of quarantine into the community and having a third wave here.”
The travel ban which came into effect on May 3 was put in place due to a record rise in COVID-19 cases in India. Earlier, the move sparked outrage as officials warned that people who tried to enter Australia after being in India within the prior 14 days could face jail or fines.
The Australian PM further informed that a flight packed with medical supplies and equipment to support India took off from Sydney earlier on Friday.
“The plane used to carry these supplies to India today will then act as a Government-facilitated flight for Australians to return home from India, focusing on the most vulnerable Australians,” he added.
Passengers will have to return both a negative COVID-19 PCR test result and a negative rapid antigen test result prior to departure. Since COVID-19 hit, the Australian government has helped nearly 20,000 Australians return from India, including on 38 government-facilitated flights, he added.