Australia has suspended all flights connecting it with India due to surge in Covid-19 cases in the country. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that all direct passenger flights from India will be suspended until May 15, news agency ANI reported.
The decision was taken during a meeting of Cabinet’s national security committee to consider the move to temporarily restrict flights from India along with what equipment and assistance could be sent. The flight suspension is expected to affect direct flights to Sydney and two repatriation flights scheduled to arrive in Darwin, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. There are about 9,000 Australians in India who are registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as wanting to return home, the report said.
Countries like Hong Kong, UAE have also imposed a travel ban to India. All incoming flights on national and foreign carriers from these countries have been suspended in view of the gloomy Covid situation. The UAE on Thursday banned travel from India for 10 days from Sunday due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country. Hong Kong also suuspended flights from India till April 3.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden had discussed the situations due to massive second Covid wave in the country over a phone call on Monday evening. Describing the phone call as ‘fruitful’, PM Modi tweeted, “Had a fruitful conversation with @POTUS @JoeBiden today. We discussed the evolving COVID situation in both countries in detail. I thanked President Biden for the support being provided by the United States to India.”
Modi-Biden talks come a day after the US assured India that it will immediately provide the specific raw materials required for manufacturing the Covishield vaccine. A top White House official said that the Biden administration was “working around the clock” to deploy all resources and supplies to bolster the country’s fight against the deadly COVID-19 spike.
– With PTI inputs