Australia bans all direct passenger flights from India till May 15

Australia bans all direct passenger flights from India till May 15
Australia has banned all direct passenger flights from India for the next three weeks amid the rising COVID-19 cases in the country. The ban will be in place at least till May 15, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. The pause on arrivals and any further extension would be reassessed before May 15, Morrison said. Australia will also provide an initial package of support to India as soon as possible to help it respond to its COVID-19 crisis, the PM added.  The decision was taken during a meeting of the Cabinet's national security committee to consider the move to temporarily restrict flights from India along with what equipment and assistance could be sent. The flight suspension is expected to affect direct flights to Sydney and two repatriation flights scheduled to arrive in Darwin, the Australian Prime Minister. If and when these services resume, passengers will require a negative RT-PCR test and a negative Rapid Antigen Tests. Indirect flights from India to Australia and flights from Australia to India have already been paused, he said. There are about 9,000 Australians in India who are registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as wanting to return home, the report said. India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days, and hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds. India recorded 3,52,991 cases on Monday, the highest so far. The Australian Prime Minister also said that they will be dispatching a COVID-19 support package to India, which will have 500 non-invasive ventilators, one million surgical masks, five lakh P2 and N95 masks, one lakh surgical gowns, one lakh goggles, one lakh pairs of gloves and 20,000 face shields. 100 oxygen concentrators will also be sent to India, Scott Morrison said Australia's Health Minister Greg Hunt had on Monday said that his country will send oxygen, ventilators and personal protective equipment to India as part of an immediate support package to the country. "India is literally gasping for oxygen," the federal health minister said. “And while we can assist with the national medical stockpile, their particular request is for assistance with regards to the physical supply of oxygen. That will be one of the things we are looking at, in particular with the states.” The federal government also confirmed to send oxygen, ventilators and personal protective equipment to India as part of an immediate support package to be announced on Tuesday, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation news channel. Meanwhile, Australian cricket players who are in India for the Indian Premier League (IPL) have asked Australian authorities to arrange a chartered flight to take its players home from COVID-ravaged India after the IPL is over. Three Australian players -- Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa -- have withdrawn from the league amid the escalating health crisis due to the pandemic's second wave in the country.  As many as 14 Australian players still remain in the IPL, including Steve Smith (Delhi Capitals), David Warner (SunRisers Hyderabad) and Pat Cummins (Kolkata Knight Riders) as well as coach Ricky Ponting (DC) and Simon Katich (RCB).  

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