First repatriation flight from India arrives in Australia following end of COVID-19 travel ban
It was scheduled to carry up to 150 passengers but in the end, only carried 80 people back to Australia.
A total of 70 people were barred from boarding. 46 of those tested positive to COVID-19, while 24 others were identified as close contacts.
The arrivals will be taken to the Howard Springs center.
Passengers on this flight had to undergo and return a negative result on two tests before they could get on the plane — a PCR test in the two days beforehand and then a rapid antigen test.
The Australian government had introduced the travel ban for its residents and citizens a fortnight ago to mitigate the risk of high infection rate at its quarantine facilities, including the Howard Springs center in Darwin.
The repatriation flight was the first flight after the Australian government imposed a temporary ban with a threat of criminal sanctions, including five years in jail and fines of up to 66,000 Australian dollars for people who try to return from India.
The next flight from India is scheduled in just over a week.
Almost 10,000 Australians, permanent residents, and their immediate family members are seeking to return to Australia with around 1,000 who have been prioritized as 'vulnerable' for health or financial reasons.
The flight from Australia to India on Friday to bring back the Australians carried 1,056 ventilators, 60 oxygen concentrators, and other essential supplies, adding to medical equipment sent last week.
Australia has delivered over 15 tonnes of medical supplies to India, including over 2,000 ventilators and more than 100 oxygen concentrators.
India in a day recorded 3,26,098 COVID-19 cases that took the tally to 2,43,72,907, while 3,890 new fatalities pushed the death toll to 2,66,207, according to Union health ministry data updated on Saturday.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)