Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Tuesday that flights from India will be suspended until mid-May, as the Covid-19 outbreak in India surges.
According to 9News, repatriation flights for Australians in India are still being arranged. Five hundred ventilators and over a million surgical masks are due to be sent in a relief package from Australia to India.
Mr Morrison said indirect flights from key transport hubs in India have already been paused, meaning these flights will not be entering Australia as usual.
Infection numbers in India at record high
India has been experiencing a significant rise in Covid-19 infections and deaths. In the past 24 hours, India recorded 323 000 new cases and 2 771 deaths.
There are an average of 117 deaths per hour in India, with many experts saying these figures are conservative.
India now has 17.3 million Covid-19 infections, the second highest in the world behind the United States.
In early April, New Zealand temporarily suspended flights from India after 17 positive cases were identified in overseas travellers.
Australian Quarantine facilities seeing jump in positive cases
The suspension of flights is a response to the increase in cases at Australia’s hotel quarantine facilities. This is linked to people entering the country from India, Mr Morrison said.
The prime minister emphasised the importance of pausing flights to allow the quarantine facilities to reduce cases. Especially in Darwin, where the repatriation flights are being directed.
Mr Morrison said this is a “rapidly escalating” situation. Australia’s hotel quarantine program has a 99.99% success rate.
“I think there’s not a country in the world that would not want a quarantine system working as well as that. But it is not 100 per cent foolproof.”