Australia to resume India repatriation flights after backlash

Australia to resume India repatriation flights after backlash
# 07 May 2021 09:35 (UTC +04:00)

Australia will resume repatriation flights for some citizens in India after a controversial ban on arrivals from the country ends on 15 May, APA reports citing BBC.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has faced criticism for failing to help citizens trapped in the Covid-ravaged nation.

The ban sparked further anger after the government said Australians seeking to fly home could face jail or fines. Mr Morrison later played down this threat.

On Friday, he said they would begin by bringing back "vulnerable" citizens.

About 900 Australians are registered with the government in this group. More than 9,000 Australians are in India in total.

Mr Morrison said he expects the travel ban to end on 15 May. However, his government will wait until next week to make a decision on whether to restart commercial flights from India, which is how most stranded Australians will be able to get home.

Even then, many fear they may find it difficult to secure a seat on a flight, or afford the costly fares.The India restrictions, which began on 27 April, led to the cancellation of two official evacuation flights that week. The ban's wider impact has also been heavily criticised.

The tough measures were introduced due to India's escalating Covid crisis. The country is seeing more than 300,000 cases reported each day and hospitals continue to run out of oxygen.