January 29, 2022

Australians return home as India travel ban ends, 72 flight bans

The plane touched down in Darwin on Saturday morning with more than 70 Australians on board. (Representative)

A plane carrying more than 70 Australians fleeing the virus-infected India landed in the north of the country on Saturday, the first since the end of a controversial ban on arrivals.

The plane touched down in Darwin on Saturday morning after picking up vulnerable passengers in New Delhi, but 72 of its booked passengers were banned from flying after 48 tested positive for Covid-19 and others were deemed to be close contacts.

Originally slated to carry 150 travelers, just over half of those booked were allowed to board the plane, a spokeswoman for Northern Territory Health said.

Under the agreement, those who test positive for the virus, or who are considered close contacts, must remain in India until they return a negative test.

Arrivals will be quarantined at the Outback Quarantine Facility, Howard Springs, for at least a fortnight.

Earlier this month, the government threatened to jail anyone, including Australian citizens, who allegedly violated the travel ban, which expired at midnight Friday.

Around 9,000 Australians are believed to be in India, where hundreds of thousands of new coronavirus cases are detected every day, and the number of deaths is skyrocketing.

As of March 2020, Australians have been banned from traveling abroad and an individual exemption is required for foreign visitors to enter the country.

Australia does not have widespread community transmission of Covid-19, but has seen several epidemics emerge from hotel quarantine facilities, causing disruptive lockdowns in the city.

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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