Sydney: As there is a surge in positive COVID-19 cases in India, Australia is set to consider a proposal on Tuesday to suspend flights from India to prevent more virulent coronavirus variants from entering the country.
Queensland state has asked the federal government to suspend all flights from India due to the high risk of possible COVID-19 outbreaks from highly infectious virus variants in the country’s hotel quarantine system.
“I sent a letter to the Prime Minister at the end of last week asking for the suspension of flights coming in from India … and I know that the federal government is considering it today,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told the Australian Broadcasting Corp on Tuesday.
Australian media reported that Australia’s national security committee will meet later on Tuesday to consider stopping flights from India and will also reveal measures including sending medical supplies to help India.
The prime minister’s office did not instantly react to requests soliciting comments on the reports.
Last week, Australia stated it would cut the number of its citizens able to return from India and other red-zone countries to hold the risk of more dangerous strains of COVID-19 spreading.
India has directed its armed forces to help to handle the COVID-19 crisis, as nations including Britain, Germany and the United States promised urgent medical aid to try to contain an emergency overwhelming the country’s hospitals.
India, on Monday, reported more than 3,52,000 new COVID-19 cases, a global record for the rise in daily cases for the fifth straight day, exceeding even the United States at the height of its pandemic last year. More than 2,800 deaths were recorded over the last 24 hours, an all-time high.
Australia closed its borders to non-citizens and permanent residents last March to prevent the new coronavirus from reaching the country. All returning travellers have to undergo a compulsory two-week hotel quarantine at their own account.
The quarantine system has largely helped Australia to keep its COVID-19 numbers comparatively low, with just under 29,700 cases and 910 deaths.