The Australian Government has agreed several new measures to protect its citizens from the increased risk of the Covid-19 outbreak in India, while also assisting that country’s government in its humanitarian response to the growing disaster.
We recognise the challenging crisis that India is currently battling and we stand ready to provide more support to our friends in India and Indian Australians during this difficult time,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said yesterday (Tuesday).
The PM said that, on advice from Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, India has been determined to be a high-risk country for the purposes of travel arrangements.
Australia is therefore implementing a temporary pause on direct passenger flights between the countries for two weeks, with a decision on further flights to be made by 15 May.
Future passengers will require two clear tests
Passengers on all future flights will be required to have both a negative Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test result, as well as a negative Rapid Antigen test result prior to taking off.
Morrison noted that, once flights restart, the Government will prioritise the return of vulnerable Australians. Already almost 20,000 registered Australians have returned from India since the pandemic began.
Indirect flights to and from India via Dubai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are not considered to be a risk as the respective authorities there also paused Indian flights.
“As a close friend and comprehensive strategic partner, Australia stands with India as it battles a surge in Covid-19 cases,” the PM said.
Emergency medical supplies being sent soon
He added that, following consultation with the Indian Government, Australia will provide emergency medical supplies to the country.
The initial package of support includes rapid deployment of 500 non-invasive ventilators, with capacity to deploy up to a total of 3,000 ventilators.
“Our Government is also supplying a significant package of personal protective equipment (PPE), including one million surgical masks, 500,000 P2/N95 masks, 100,000 surgical gowns, 100,000 goggles, 100,000 pairs of gloves and 20,000 face shields,” Morrison stated.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will manage the movement of PPE and equipment over the next week.