Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday said the pause on flights from India to Australia will end at midnight on14 May with an aircraft used to bring in covid-19 related assistance to India returning stranded Australians home.
Australia is one among the more than 30 countries that have joined hands to support India as a devastating second wave of the covid-19 pandemic sweeps through the country.
In a Facebook post, Morrison said a flight packed with “medical supplies and equipment to support our good friends in India took off from Sydney earlier today (Friday)”.
“This flight was carrying another 1,056 ventilators, 60 oxygen concentrators and other essential supplies. It adds to the more than 1,000 ventilators and 43 oxygen concentrators we sent last week,” Morrison said.
He went on to add that at midnight of 14 May, “the temporary pause on flights from India to Australia ends and facilitated commercial flights by the Australian Government will resume as promised, with a strict pre-flight testing regime to keep Australians safe.”
There are an estimated 7,000-9,000 Australians, according to news reports, who have been stranded in India as the second wave hit in March-April.
Australians returning home “will have to return both a negative covid-19 test result and a negative rapid antigen test result prior to departure,” the Australian prime minister said, and added that since last year when the pandemic struck, the Australian government has facilitated the return of nearly 20,000 Australians, including through 38 government-facilitated flights.
“Australia continues to stand by India as they battle with a growing covid-19 outbreak and humanitarian crisis and will continue to work in partnership with them to meet urgent needs,” Morrison added.