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India’s travel ban in Australia ends, 72 passengers barred from flying

As the first since a contentious ban on arrivals ended, the plane carrying more than 70 Australians fleeing virus-stricken India landed in the country’s north Saturday.

72 were banned from the flight home to Australia after 48 tested positive for coronavirus. The other 24 were family members of positive cases and deemed close contacts. The plane touched down in Darwin on Saturday morning after picking up vulnerable passengers from New Delhi.

A Northern Territory Health spokeswoman said, at first, it was planned to carry 150 travellers, but only half of those booked were cleared to board the plane.

The arrangement was made for those who test positive for the virus or was believed to have close contacts, have to remain in India until they return a negative test.

For at least a fortnight the arrivals will quarantine at Outback quarantine facility Howard Springs.

At the beginning of the month, the government warned to jail anyone, including Australian citizens, who breached the travel ban, which expired at midnight on Friday.

About 9,000 Australians are supposed to be in India, where hundreds of thousands of new coronavirus cases are being discovered every day and the number of deaths rising.

From March 2020, Australians have been prohibited from travelling overseas, and an individual exception is needed for foreign visitors to enter the country.

Australia has no widespread community transmission of Covid-19 but has seen numerous outbreaks begin from hotel quarantine facilities, causing disruptive city lockdowns.


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