Australia defends decision to sanction citizens from COVID-19 hit in India
Australia defends its decision to sanction its own citizens entering the country within two weeks of being in COVID-19 hit in India.
Health Minister, Greg Hunt said on Monday, in a news briefing that India coronavirus surge on Australia’s health system serve as reasons to pause travel until May 15.
Australia’s quarantine hotels have seen a 1,500% spike in COVID-19 cases from India since March, raising questions about pre-departure testing in India and leading to this agonizing decision.
“The strong, clear view is that there has been no doubt in any of the Commonwealth advice about this measure or other measures,” he said.
Australia, which has largely contained the novel coronavirus, closed its borders to non-citizens in March 2020.
Returning residents and citizens must undergo a mandatory two-week hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Australia has seen 22,245 cases of community transmission and 910 deaths through the pandemic.
Roughly a quarter of the 35,000 Australians stranded overseas are in India, which reported close to 400,000 cases on Friday and more than 200,000 total deaths.
Australia clocked zero cases of community transmission on Monday.
Western Australia reported three cases over the weekend after a quarantine hotel security guard and two house-mates tested positive for COVID-19.
The country’s vaccination program has moved slowly, administering just over 2 million doses so far, well short of initial government forecasts of 4 million by the end of March.
According to projections by the Australian Broadcasting Corp, Australia’s adult population will likely be fully vaccinated by August 2023.
The government has cited a global COVID-19 vaccine shortage and health concerns around the AstraZeneca shot, on which Australia’s immunization program was based.
Australia has imposed age restrictions on the AstraZeneca vaccine.