Australia has suspended passenger flights from India as the South Asian country continues to face a record-breaking COVID-19 outbreak, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday.
Morrison said that passenger flights between India and Australia would be paused effective immediately until May 15, with the suspension set to be reviewed before that date to assess whether an extension will be needed.
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The premier said that the move will directly impact two passenger services to Sydney and two repatriation flights to Darwin for a total of some 500 passengers.
Earlier, the National Cabinet had already decided to reduce flights from India, both commercial and repatriation ones, by 30 per cent.
Morrison said that Australia would send aid to the Asian country including 500 ventilators and 1 million surgical masks, among other medical supplies, Australian broadcaster ABC reported.
India on Tuesday reported 323,144 new COVID-19 infections, passing the 300,000 mark for the sixth consecutive day.
Meanwhile on Monday it reported over 350,000 infections within 24 hours, more than any country has reported in that timespan.
With its 1.3 billion inhabitants, India has recorded a total of more than 17 million infections.
Earlier this month, New Zealand suspended all travel from India after a surge of Covid-19 cases was detected at the border.
The Prime Minister said repatriation flights would resume as soon as possible.
More than 9,000 Australians in India are thought to want to come to Australia, broadcaster ABC reported.
He rejected criticism that he was abandoning Australians currently stranded in India, saying the government was focused on bringing people back once it could safely. (dpa/NAN)