Australia sends more aid to India as temporary pause on flights ends

By Our Reporter
Pic supplied by Office of the PM

Australia has sent another flight packed with medical supplies and equipment to support India. The flight carrying another 1,056 ventilators, 60 oxygen concentrators and other essential supplies took off from Sydney earlier on Friday (14 May).

This adds to the more than 1,000 ventilators and 43 oxygen concentrators sent last week.

The plane used to carry these supplies to India will then act as a Government-facilitated flight for Australians to return home from India, focusing on the most vulnerable Australians.

Passengers will have to return both a negative COVID-19 PCR test result and a negative rapid antigen test result prior to departure.

In a Facebook post, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “At midnight tonight, 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.”

Morrison said the pause has worked. “Active cases of COVID-19 in our hotel quarantine have dropped by over 40 per cent over the past few weeks, down from 292 to 171.

“In the NT, where our first flights will return, it fell from 53 to 4 active cases.”

Pic supplied by Office of the PM

The pause has given the quarantine system much-needed breathing space to minimise the risk of COVID-19 getting out of quarantine into the community and having a third wave here, he said. “It’s all about keeping Australians safe and ensuring we can keep living the way we are in Australia, which is like few other countries in the world today.”

Since COVID-19 hit, Australia has helped nearly 20,000 Australians return from India, including on 38 government-facilitated flights. Budget2021 provides $176.3 million for facilitated flights to get more Australians home.

The Prime Minister said, “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.”

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