Australia will resume repatriation flights from India on May 15 following medical advice that the pause has relieved quarantine pressure.
Following a fierce backlash against the harsh measures, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Friday that the travel ban would be lifted on its scheduled expiry date.
“The pause we implemented for travellers returning from India is working,” he told reporters in Newcastle.
Repatriation flights from India will begin on May 15, according to Scott Morrison.Source: AAP
Three flights will be scheduled this month to return the most urgent cases, with 900 vulnerable citizens and permanent residents stranded in India.
All new arrivals will be quarantined at the Howard Springs mining camp in the Northern Territory, where capacity will be increased to 2000 beds.
Following advice from Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, the Cabinet’s national security committee approved the decision on Thursday.
The controversial ban drew heavy criticism from conservatives, the Indian-Australian community, and human rights groups after the government threatened jail and fines for those who violated it.
The first flight, which is expected to depart almost immediately after the temporary travel ban is lifted, could carry up to 200 passengers.
The travel ban is in effect until May 15, with approximately 9000 Australians stranded in India.
Some of those stranded were in grave danger, according to Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, and would be prioritised when flights were approved.