Australia’s Harsh India Travel Ban

Filed Under: Travel

With coronavirus cases in India surging, we’re seeing countries add some travel restrictions. For example, yesterday it was announced that the United States would introduce an India travel ban, though that doesn’t apply to Americans.

Well, Australia has just announced a travel ban that’s on a whole different level.

Australians could be arrested for returning home

Australia has been closed to most foreigners for well over a year now, though Australian citizens and residents have generally been allowed to return home with a lengthy quarantine upon arrival in a government facility.

Starting Monday, May 3, 2021, Australia will ban citizens and residents from returning home if they’ve been in India in the past 14 days. Anyone who violates this rule could face up to five years in jail and/or a fine of up to 66,000 AUD. The restriction will be reviewed on May 15, 2021.

This is the first time since the start of the pandemic that Australia has made it a criminal offense for Australians to return home.

As Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt describes this move:

“The government does not make these decisions lightly. However, it is critical the integrity of the Australian public health and quarantine systems is protected and the number of COVID-19 cases in quarantine facilities is reduced to a manageable level.”

Australia is not allowing citizens to return home from India

Is this policy fair or unreasonable?

Australia’s zero tolerance approach to coronavirus sure has been polarizing.

There are no doubt huge positives to it — a lot of lives have been saved with Australia’s approach, and for that matter life within Australia’s borders is for all practical purposes “freer” than in most of the rest of the world.

As you’d expect, achieving this isn’t without problems:

  • There are tens of thousands of Australians waiting to return home, but they have to wait for extended periods due to Australia’s flight cap
  • The quarantine for Australians returning home is expensive, and little has been done to improve this and also increase capacity
  • On some level it seems kind of heartless to tell vulnerable Australians in India that they can’t return home and should just stay there
  • As we start to see widespread vaccination, one has to wonder how exactly a zero tolerance approach towards coronavirus plays into this; coronavirus likely won’t be eradicated completely, so will Australia at some point accept that there will be some cases, or just stay closed off to the rest of the world?

What I find interesting in this particular situation is that Australia is banning people from returning home even though the country has a closely monitored 14-day quarantine in a hotel. You’d think that would sufficiently address the risk.

The belief here seems to be that Australia doesn’t yet have these new variants, and allowing people from India increases the risk of the country being exposed to them. For example, other people could potentially be exposed on flights, and for that matter some coronavirus “outbreaks” in Australia have been caused by spread in the quarantine facilities.

One has to wonder how Australia plans to reopen borders

Bottom line

Australia is banning anyone who has been in India in the past 14 days, including Australian residents and citizens. That’s despite the fact that Australia has flight caps and some of the strictest quarantine measures of any country in the world.

While we’ve seen a lot of travel restrictions during the pandemic, we haven’t seen many countries outright ban people from returning home, even with a quarantine.

What do you make of Australia’s travel ban on India?

  1. The Australian federal government (unlike the states which are actually doing all the work) is doing the absolute minimum it could possibly be doing to keep Australia safe and reintegrating us with the rest world. Right now it’s just leaning on the classics, keeping people out.

    It has completely failed to build a quarantine system that meets the needs of Australians coming home let alone the needs of the economy to allow in immigrants, students and business people.

  2. Australians: “we’re not racist, we’re just full.”

    whoops I meant “we’re just concerned about covid.”

  3. There is a Indian premier league cricket tournament currently in progress in india .
    Many Aussie players are part of this and there has been talk that they might be returning soon.Now ,they will be forced to stay in india and play .
    It should be illegal to ban a citizen to return to his own country .
    What if the foreign countries they are staying in refuses to extend their visa ???
    Sounds like Tom Hanks in the Terminal movie …many Aussies would end up nationless

  4. New Zealand has done the same since beginning of April. But without the harsh jail term and massive fine.

  5. Good. As an Australian living in Perth I applaud the government for this, it is all the Australians who left the country to go to weddings and funerals etc. so it is their problem. They were already here and chose to leave.

  6. Could you imagine living in a country like Australia these days?

    You’re a prisoner in your own country.
    All so politicians can get rich by telling you ‘we kept you safe’.

    And the people around the world – LOVE THIS.

  7. As an Australian citizen, I am disgusted with how the country is treating its own citizens. They just don’t care. I’m glad I have a German passport and US residency. I honestly feel much more looked after and at home in those countries than Australia.

  8. I am a Canadian – Aussie and returned to Australia last year once I learned the country would begin restricting flights to a cap of 30 pax. I am so thankful for the way Australia has handled the pandemic, the lockdowns are tough and it is disconcerting to wake up and find out there are 3 days of staying at home unexpectedly but it is so comforting seeing hospitals run normally, no one is dying from covid and our health is treated as an absolute priority. Even in Canada things are not good, with a great healthcare system, they are overrun, my family back home are very worried and I am here in Australia, able to go out to dinner with friends and not be worried. Australia has done a damn good job and should be very proud.

  9. @Ryan, you are exactly right. Unless they get an exemption. And I don’t know anyone that has been granted one despite meeting the criteria.

  10. This is heartless. Hopefully many stranded Aussies were able to go home before this, so the impact would be limited. But this doesn’t change how this act of the government is completely wrong.

  11. As @Kumar mentioned about the IPL which is currently taking place in India in a Bio secure bubble, there are many Australian players and support staff who are part of it. A couple of them pulled out earlier this week over concerns about the pandemic in India and also worried over getting back home. They made it to Australia via DOH in Qatar Airways. Two days back one match official also decided to pull out but could not secure the flight so he continues to participate in the league.

    The Indian Cricket Board has assured the Australian players that they would help them in reaching their country once the IPL ends on May 30.

    The proposal is to fly them on a charter flight to UK, where they will stay for 14 days and then continue to Australia.

    Well the charter flight is not exclusive for the Aussies, the Indian Cricket Board is chartering a flight for its Indian Players who have a series to be played in UK in June. So the Australians will also get on this flight.

    With the 14 days in UK then the mandatory quarantine in Australia of 14 days include travel days it will be over a month until these players reach their home and see the families.

  12. @Ed….The Australian Federal government has done minimal as the federal government in Australia has minimal powers. Like in the US with the states the premiers of the Australian states have most of the power. The PM of Australia couldn’t even travel to states that had travel bans in place.

    @ Lucky…I’ll let the Australians live in a police state environment to achieve their utopia of eliminating the virus. Ask Victorians how “free” they’ve been. This current ban is really nothing unlike what they have been doing internally. If a resident of Victoria was in New South Wales when Victoria closed its borders they had to apply for special permission to come back. Kicker is that just being a resident wasn’t by itself good enough. Let Australia and NZ have their travel bubble.

  13. I thought this was a joke when someone mentioned it yesterday! 🙂 Finally a ban that makes some sense.

    And IPL is totally justifiable, what else to do than watch a game while waiting hours for oxygen for your loved ones ?

  14. I always thought that Australia absolutely did the right thing requiring 14 day hotel quarantines for people arriving internationally, which effectively kept Covid out of their country and allowed Aussies to live normal lives for the most part this entire Pandemic. However, banning anyone and everyone from entering from India is extreme and pretty cruel to Aussies stuck there. Why not lengthen the quarantine time instead if there is concern about the new variants? Plus, with effective vaccines being widely distributed now, it’s amazing to me that Australia isn’t even starting the process of revising their entry policy for fully vaccinated people in countries like Israel, UK, and US where the majority of adults are either fully vaccinated or close to it. How long can they keep their current policy of trying to have zero Covid cases?

  15. Perfectly reasonable. If you’ve been in India at any point in the last two weeks your entire thought process needs questioning. So now – actions have consequences.

  16. Given that covid is unlikely to disappear anytime soon, I wonder if Australia will remain a closed state for the rest of our lives or if they’ll finally give up and take some casualties. I suspect the latter will be true.

  17. Australia has even struggled with break-outs from quarantine hotels. I agree if you are from Australia and you’ve been in India, I don’t think you should subject the other Australians to the dangers of your decision. Australia hasn’t kept its death rates so astonishingly low, and now it’s society largely open, without taking some very tough measures. If you apply the per capita death rate in Australia to the US, it’s absolutely amazing how low our COVID death numbers would be.

  18. I hope all the pro-Australian posters realize that they are supporting border policies more akin to those of the former Soviet bloc than the anglophone West. Such a policy would likely not be constitutional in the United States. The Australian health minister has stated that their borders might not open even after the population has been vaccinated. I won’t necessarily miss Australians polluting the rest of the world (they are rampant in London), but I do feel a bit sorry for them having to live under such a policy. The world truly has gone mad.

  19. Is it even accepted by international law to ban your own citizens from entering their home country? I thought that was a violation of generally accepted international law, but I’m no lawyer and don’t really know.

  20. Just wonder whether in the future some sizable part of Australian population would develop an Australian syndrome resembling a well-studied Stockholm syndrome.
    And by the way, if you look at Covid-19 numbers in USA, right now we are about at the same level as we have been from the beginning of the pandemic till end of October.

  21. Life within North Korean borders has also remained unchanged during covid.

    If australia wants to follow the north korean example they can do it, but other sane people can be disgusted by it

  22. Looks like australia is looking for permanent isolation from the world but they are forgetting that this virus is here to stay, the only way to save peoples lives is vaccination.

  23. @John K I agree with you. You are lucky to be in Australia. Although travel is my passion, I would rather live in a place with strict restrictions, but, a place where hospitals and healthcare are practically back to normal as well as being able to go out with friends.

    I think that Australia’s restrictions are acceptable. This pandemic won’t last forever and people who are in India wishing to return to Australia should have to isolate somewhere outside of India for at least 14 days before returning back home to Australia.

    Makes sense to me.

  24. And tennis players and film stars are allowed to travel and enjoy renting beautiful homes. There was a story about an Australian in the U.K. who had been travelling on business during which time the border closed. She had tried to rebook and was told to ask the local authority for assistance as she was homeless as she was running out of funds . It’s the Australian government’s responsibility to take care of its own citizens. She had a job and home she couldn’t get to , but Tom Hanks had a priority.

  25. Australia used to have a migrant problems like the US had on the Mexican border. Then they got tough sending boat people to camps in Nauru. Boat people stopped. In contrast, America sends mixed messages, like migrant kids aren’t detained more than a few days causing waves of kids to come. You can like or dislike policies but tough Aussie ones work.

    As far as Lucky Ben writing:

    While we’ve seen a lot of travel restrictions during the pandemic, we haven’t seen many countries outright ban people from returning home, even with a quarantine

    NOT TRUE. I am banned from Canada because I am American and have essential reasons to go to Canada but Justin says my reasons are non-essential. I have close relatives who are Canadian but not close enough for Justin.

  26. Australia is ridiculous.

    Whilst the rest of the world moves to herd immunity, Australians will be extremely vulnerable, with no exposure.

    Most of them won’t even get vaccinated, because ‘no COVID in Australia’, right. Free rider problem.

  27. Australia has had a defacto ban on its citizens and permanent residents returning to their home since June 2020, when strict caps on arrivals (think around 40 people on a 777) and the $3000 per person fee for quarantine was introduced. Demand has exceeded supply, despite a citizen’s lawful right to return, for well over a year.

    It has had the practical effect of allowing rich people to return home (along with movie stars on private jets), while leaving the vast majority of middle class and poorer people stranded around the world.

    Australians will argue that this is what has been necessary, but the reality is, every other country in the Asia-Pacific region has done better than Australia, without such draconian – and likely illegal – measures. And Australia has had one full year to increase its quarantine facilities, explicitly choosing not to. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

    Sadly, there’s nothing new here. Australia has a deeply xenophobic streak that runs through its populace, and there are no votes in helping perceived “outsiders” – citizens, residents, or not – get back to their home.

    For this Australian who lives in in the United States, my shame and embarrassment runs deep. No one should be defending this situation, especially those who are fortunate enough to be safely in Australia.

  28. It’s been over a year since the pandemic started…what reason do you have to not have gone back to Australia as soon as it was available?

    Now all of a sudden you want to get out when things get bad, and want to put people back home at risk due to your selfishness of not going back in 2020?

    Australia is doing the right thing protecting its citizens from the spread of the new variant. No doubt quarantine limits spread, but it isn’t absolute, and there is an significant chance the Indian variant will spread with the arrival of Australians from India.

  29. “There are tens of thousands of Australians waiting to return home, but they have to wait for extended periods due to Australia’s flight cap”

    And yet, I know an Australian citizen who left Australia, travelled to the US for personal business, and then returned to Australia within a week.

    For the current situation in India – I am curious to know how many Australians have been stuck in India for the past 13 months, versus how many traveled to India since the beginning of this year?

  30. It makes no sense to put a vulnerable population at risk because of the unfortunate circumstances of a few individuals. Their rights need to be sacrificed for the greater good. Australian society is essentially normal within our own borders.

  31. These rules forced my friend to choose between meeting his dying father in US or taking care of his 33 months pregnant wife in Aus. His dad passed away recently without meeting him. This paranoia over covid has to stop. Precautions must be taken but they ought be logical. Banning its own citizens from returning is out right dystopian.

  32. Australia doesn’t want anyone to come in, but wants the rest of the world to provide it with vaccines and medicines and technologies they had no part in creating. In all sense of the word, they are the ultimate “mooches”.

  33. I think this is ridiculous!

    First of all, I personal think Australia did a great job in containing the virus, by putting lockdowns restrictions and 14 days hotel quarantines for any person entering the country. It’s is very important to keep all Australians safe in their country and reach zero covid.

    However, I found this recent policy horrible. Jail time to Australian citizens for returning home? Why can’t they put them in a government run quarantine center (not the usual hotel quarantine)? Can’t they bring them back by using a charter flight (not free, they can charge them so it’s not using tax payers money)? Hospitals in India are collapsing. People can actually die without proper medical attention or lack of medical supplies. Have they ever cared it’s own people in a situation like this?

  34. 14 or 21 day quarantine for returning travelers seems reasonable assuming it’s strictly enforced. Clearly it worked for Australia, even if they chose not to expand the service to return more citizens home. God forbid people actual come up with a solid plan.

  35. Many other places in Asia Pacific like Singapore and Hong Kong have been blocking all direct flights and anyone including citizens or residents who in the past fourteen days have been to these mutant virus hotspots like the UK and South Africa, and now India, Pakistan, etc. These stringent rules are needed to protect the majority including the elderly and the weak who will not stand a chance if infected by these mutant viruses. There are ways to satisfy these rules such as staying in a third non-hotspot places for 14 days before flying home with negative PCR test before flight. But it’s going to be expensive for travellers, but it’s fair enough. Would you rather pay for someone else travelling with your tax or lives?

  36. I think @Alex sums up what many Australians think, that Aussies overseas are people who had the chance come home earlier (i.e. between March and July 2020 before flight caps were introduced) but deliberately chose not to and/or that they couldn’t care less about bringing the virus into Australia. But in singling out India you do have to wonder why they didn’t do similar restrictions for the US, the UK and Brazil at the peak of their waves.

    @Joe The difference between Australia the Asia-Pacific countries that have done well and can accept uncapped flights is many let people quarantine at home but with proper enforcement (i.e. monitoring software or ankle braces). If Australia, let alone America, did that people would just cry “police state”. Australia has a period of 12 days letting people quarantine at home but cases still went up – even if the majority of people are compliant it only takes one or two rule breakers to ruin it for everyone.

  37. For the most part life in Australia is really good. I went to the theatre to see Hamilton last night and it was a full house. Last week I was swimming with Whale Sharks in Ningaloo Reef. I am at the Park Hyatt in Sydney and it is so busy. I am in Darwin in August and can’t get accomodation unless I am ok staying at a YHA. The tourism companies in Australia that are struggling are those that are targeted at foreigners.
    I am an ex-expat so am more very understanding re people still returning home. I understand assignments end and people expect to come. I understand people lose their jobs and need to come home. I do struggle with some scenarios, I saw on an expat forum, a person living in Europe wanted to come home to Australia as life is good here. Does not want to sell their house as once COVID is back to normal they want to return to Europe. Is that fair? Probably not. Does she have a right to return as an Australian? Absolutely yes. I don’t know the answer.
    As for the Indian ban I personally think it is way too harsh. Do I think they Australian government should charter a plane for the Australian cricketers who are NOT representing their country but are earning an enormous amount of money? Absolutely not.
    I do wish ScoMo would hurry up with the vaccine rollout and come up with a plan for re-opening.

  38. Australia is showing the courage to do exactly the right thing. If all countries were half as strict the spread of Covid would not be out of control as it is now.

    One person arrived in BC from India and within days there were 18 cases of the variant. Now we have 800 cases a day and most are the variant. Had we had a ban or PROPER quarantine then this would not have happened.

    As has been pointed out, all Australians were told to come home over a year ago. Those now in India either travelled there recently or chose to ignore the return order. Democracy appears to give all citizens the right to be stupid. And may rejoice in their rights.

    Way to go Australia. Keep up the good work but don’t forget to get everyone vaccinated so you can eventually relax your excellent restrictions.

    Unfortunately I was in Portugal when Covid hit. Had I been in Australia I would still be there enjoying a wonderful free life with friends.

  39. Australia takes the lunacy to another level… and I thought Canada was horrible…. the fact that a country can ban its OWN citizens from returning to the country is simply pathetic, no matter what the circumstances…. having a PCR test prior to leaving, PCR upon arrival and 14 day quarantine is more than ample… Australia is taking the COVID hysteria to new heights, who would want to live in such a draconian place, but the apologists will simple rationalize any behavior… a sorry state of affairs.

  40. It will be difficult for Australia to reopen without exposing the entire population. We still do not know how well the vaccines will protect against new variants so a rush to vaccinate and reopen makes little sense until more information is available.
    In the end I suspect future candidates may run on platforms of opening the country or keeping it closed at which point those who should be making the Australian voters will be doing so.
    I enjoyed my visits to Australia but I would not necessarily want to live there but it would sure beat Europe right now which keeps going into and out of lockdowns.

  41. Ben, you have a German passport. Germany also fines and imprisons immigration offences. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. The list of countries which imprison immigration offences is easy to find on Google. It is a very long list.

    Australia is expecting a Federal election towards the end of the year. State elections have all returned incumbent parties based on statements they are “protecting our borders”. So expect it to continue. It is a common election strategy of the covid era.

    Does the government of India know the real covid figures or is fudging figures? Does anyone know exactly which variants of the virus are in India? Things look different as young working people are succumbing. That could ruin any economy. Because they can’t work.

    The USA has a deal with India, Australia and Japan to protect each other against China. That deal might unravel if India gets chaotic. China pressures Australia to make a “grand gesture”, so things are uneasy in this region.

    The USA Federal Reserve reckons we all are in for a future of inflation and low interest rates. That will involve a strategy of keeping people spending domestically.

    It looks like some countries such as USA and Australia will prosper well, and others will suffer long term. And that will cause envy, which causes anger…. Regardless of borders.

    Ben, I understand your income depends on support for open borders and freedom to travel using reward points. I also understand you told us you are now a home owner. Don’t be surprised if your world view changes when you move into your first home.

  42. @Ray Lerr
    With HK is a little bit different, their 14 days suspension on flights coming from India aren’t applied only to India, but to any country if in the past had brought certain amount of covid positive into the city within a certain period of time. They suspended on April 20th after the discovery of the 47 covid positives (it is now 58 including more than 10 with the variant B1617) coming in from one flight. Besides, last year, HK gov made several charter flights to HK residents living in India and Pakistan to return home. So this is incomparable to Australia’s ridiculous policy.

  43. Two facts, there have been close to 500,000 Aussies who have returned home to Australia in the last 12 months, so to say the borders have been completely closed is wrong.

    Second, there have been numerous reports in the media about Aussies leaving Australia to attend funerals, weddings, etc, overseas in the last few months. They were given permission to leave despite knowing the risks of getting return flights to Australia. So there is not a lot of sympathy for these people, as we also could not attend many of our funerals and weddings in Australia last year.
    We do not like the way spokespeople and celebrities seem to get to jump the queue on planes, money speaks louder than anything.
    Happy to keep Australia safe, life is pretty normal and the Government has done well.

  44. It’s been over a year since the pandemic started and people are traveling to India? Are they crazy? They reap what they sow.

  45. Wow – speechless. I’m a foreign journalist based in India. I’d be quite furious if my country of citizenship were to ban me from returning. This is definitely a first and quite shortsighted since many foreigners are in discussing areas of the world too provide essential services. This is very poor optics on stance of the Aussie government.

  46. “ This is definitely a first and quite shortsighted since many foreigners are in difficult areas of the world to provide essential services.”

  47. @MDA they are in India playing cricket because they won’t be able to play cricket for their whole life i.e. while their body lasts, they need to maximize their earnings to last their lifetime. Plus, this year’s world cup will be in India or UAE. So playing now will only help Australia.

    @Philip Elliott – I guarantee, no country in the world has a reported correct numbers. If I speak of US, last year things were so bad here that let alone hospitalization, testing was restricted to folks with serious symptoms. Rest were told to assume presumptive positive. Just like US, the UK variant is the most common in India in this wave. Researchers are still studying Indian variant and its been labeled as variant of interest. All of this available by a simple google search if you actually care about truth.

    Bottom line is, no country has a right to ban its citizens from entering. In pandemic, country can add entry conditions but should not be allowed to ban. All supports of this approach would have different opinion if they had an emergency but were barred from returning.

  48. Australia is one of the most multi-cultural countries in the world, and the fact we have a lot of Indian-born Australian citizens is due India not permitting dual citizenship – therefore they are classified as “Australian citizens”.
    Also we have two Covid vaccination types, the Pfizer and the AstraZenica (the latter part produced in Australia), and is now not advised for the under 50s due to blood clots. The AstraZenica I note is not approved in the US, and the EU has blocked supply as we have done so well in controlling the virus. It is also not effective for the South African variant. Different areas of India have different variants of the disease.
    Most of those in quarantine with positive Covid tests are from India.
    The ban is only temporary until quarantine is re-assessed.
    While my heart goes out to those affected, Australia must prevent a mass outbreak.

  49. It surprises me that several of those commenting adamantly against Australia banning its citizens from returning from India (Ecuador also banned its citizens from returning early on in the pandemic although it no longer does) yet in the same breath want to forcibly vaccinate all Americans. Seems to me the Australian model was much more successful and did not rely upon vaccines at all. However, you cannot claim one, the Australian model, is anti-freedom, yet argue for mandatory vaccination, which is also anti-freedom. Both are means to control the pandemic but both infringe upon one’s individual rights. I’m not arguing against being vaccinated but rather just pointing out the hypocrisy in the viewpoints.

  50. @305 pithily says/suggests “Trumps America”.
    Well, not quite that bad, but this current government has a prime Minister who modelled himself on Donald Trump, embracing his normalization of lying and fascist tendencies, while waving the “god tells me what to do” cudgel . He is ably assisted by a former Home Affairs minister, who can’t seem to let go of his old portfolio, and is the one responsible for the attention-grabbing headlines of the possible, although unlikely, penalties for Australians returning from India by creative means.
    Of course they should be allowed to return, along with tens of thousands others stuck all over the world.
    Why this is not happening is a problem of the government’s own making. For a year now they have been happy for the use of select quarantine CBD hotels, which they have grudgingly admitted lately are not fit for purpose.
    The public want them to utilize Commonwealth-owned or controlled facilities, some offshore, which are eminently suited for short-term quarantine. Using these would also greatly expand the capacity to return the backlog of residents wanting to come home. Sure, they are not five-star hotels, but I’m certain everyone affected would jump at the opportunity if it led to getting back to their home and loved ones to resume a normal life.
    Shame on this myopic, useless government!

  51. @ole I never said they should not go – I just said that the government should not be paying for charter flights for them. I know many expats who have had to spend a fortune to come back to Australia after losing jobs. Either that or they can take one one of the DFAT flights.

    BTW – I used to live in India and have been to several IPL matches in Mumbai.

    As someone pointed out – it is not a total ban – it is paused. In addition, ur population is small and our hospital system would not cope.

    I continue to be horrified that the government are allowing celebs into Australia and allowing them to quarantine at home (and yes I know they are paying).

  52. O.K. So, the key aspect of this change, is due to the number of arriving passengers from India testing positive on their first test after they enter quarantine in Australia.

    Australia, like many other countries, requires a negative PCR test result taken a maximum of 72 hours prior to boarding a flight to Australia. It has a fairly good understanding of how many people from hard hit counties in the past (e.g. South Africa, U.K., U.S.A…), might catch covid before or within that window, or during their journey.

    The problem with recent arrivals from India, is that the number of people testing covid positive on arrival into quarantine in Australia, far exceeds the proportion from previous hot spots. (Remember everyone has to present a negative PCR test before boarding the flight.)

    So, why are so many more arrivals from India testing positive on arrival, when they tested negative on departure, than from previous hot spots?

    There is much speculation, but as the answer is unknown, so out of caution, anyone who has been in India in the previous 14 days, is banned from entering Australia.

  53. Another violation of human rights from the government of Koalastan. Why is anyone surprised?

    I am disappointed they didn’t say if anyone tries to return home they will shoot them at the airport or send them out to the coal mines. Australia is not far from this lunacy.

  54. @ Ali
    So what you’re saying is Australia has been more tolerant, and finally the situation in India has seen the government determine it’s currently too high risk (or at least needs to pause). I think the most disturbing situation as you point out is that flight from India to HK where near on 50% of the plane had or subsequently contracted covid. Something’s gone drastically wrong there and for a country where covid 0 is the aim to fly a similar situation such as that in, even to their bespoke facility would be wreckless. The NT government is already saying their near capacity to handle the covid medical issues in quarantine. There’s 55 cases (none in the community of course), if that number were to increase substantially it’d be hard to handle.

    There’s also been numerous government backed repatriation flights from India to Australia, which is the reason the case number in the NT is majority of India origin.

    You can frame this any way you want, but a country aiming for covid 0 after numerous cases of quarantine employees contracting the virus and shutting down cities would do the same. The fact most governments are satisfied with letting tens or hundreds of thousands of their own people die due an illness that can be controlled and eradicated through diligence and (short term in the scheme of things) sacrifice, should be the bigger story.

  55. @Nick
    Indeed the outbreak in India is crazy, hospitals can’t cope up with the surge of cases and about the flight carrying 58 positives (36% of the passengers) is insane too, but because having those strict measures in HK, they were able to stopped it during testing & quarantine.

    I understand your concern about safety for the rest of the Australians and keep zero covid. But the gov can plan better ways to bring their citizens and residents back home by lowering the risk. They can put them into a gov run quarantine center (not a hotel quarantine since it could mix the high risk w/ the low risk people). Extend the quarantine to 21 days instead if they concern about the new variant B1617. Arrange charter flights so they can properly calculate how many people bringing each day or weekly so that it won’t get too congested in those gov quarantine centers. Set a quota. Charter flights should not be free, should charge them a price so they are not using tax payers money. Same w/ quarantine centers, should set a price too. I am sure there are other alternatives than criminalize them.

  56. @ Ali
    They’ve implemented all of those strategies (aside from 21 days). The big issue is current government run facility is near to medical capacity, and the state run quarantine hotels are leaking covid, again why Perth was teetering on lockdown overnight because a quarantine worker and then his two housemates have tested positive. Now that the country isn’t in lockdown, introducing more sources of that leak (ie those that have high potential to be) and based on those anomalies found on that HK flight it seems to make sense to pause until more is known, which is what they’ve done.

    They know the current 14 day quarantine is seeing quarantine workers infected, they know this results in the cities locking down again (even 1 case potentially). They don’t know why so many covid cases on that HK flight materialised, and until they do it’d be silly to risk further large numbers of potential cases coming in. I’m not saying the system isn’t broken, but carrying on as is when it’s already failing isn’t a recipe for success.

  57. Where’s Ben? I typically find posts here to be very reasonable. We know the authors preference while also maintaining balanced tone. This one is a little silly. Protecting public health is nearly always actions for/by the few for the benefit of the many. Nothing new in Australia approach, just more logically consistent than most. At least the government has policies aligning with goals. Have never been able to say that about Team Biden (or Trump). How did we become so hapless that competence feels uncomfortable.

  58. @Nick
    I am not familiar with the quarantine hotels in Australia, but I think it’s not the same as a gov quarantine center. Have you seeing the ones in HK? In HK a quarantine hotel is only used by travellers entering the city, the entire hotel is used for quarantine but it has to be approved by the gov making sure there is individual a/c ventilation system, an open window in each room, etc. But a gov run quarantine center are temporary built quarantine centers purposely used for repatriation residents coming from high risk zone but recently it had been used for any person who had close contact with covid. The large difference is these gov quarantine centers has a structure of an open building (similar to a motel where each individual room has a door and window exposing to open air, no closed corridors or hallways, no lobbies or elevators, usually 1-2 levels, 2nd floor can be reached by an outdoor stairs) and people working here are not normal staffs, they might be from the health department as well as professional people in disinfecting the rooms and all staffs wear PPE. Perhaps Australia can consider and prepare this type of facilities to bring them back home without risking the rest of the population. In addition, they can suggest staffs working at these quarantine places to get vaccinated so it can lower the risk.

  59. This is utterly outrageous. No one has thought this through. If an Australian in India has reached the end of their permission to stay in India – say a visa expiry – what does the moronic Australian government expect them to do? Find a third country to hang out in? Aussies are banned from leaving Australia and banned from entering. I hope the rest of the world sees Australia for what it is: fool’s paradise. I’m ashamed to be an Australian.

  60. @Mark Barbeliuk

    Did the Australian govt provide guidance to Australians on the consequences of leaving Australia and not being able to easily return?

  61. @ Alan: The Australian government has provided a permit to every single person leaving the country after April 2020, on the basis that their need to do so was compelling or of interest to Australia.

    Those who have left the country under a permit system created by the Australian Government to determine who is allowed to leave and why, are entitled to protection and the right of return from that same Government.

    I have yet to read a single justification by the apologists for this system that makes sense to me.

  62. @ Alan – PS I would add that “not being able to easily return” is very different from “prohibited to return under criminal penalties including fines and prison”.

  63. What didn’t help with was two flights before the stricter ban was implemented was the fake Covid certificates. A negative test before flying is required, on arrival 240 out of 247 tested positive. All but 6 of the test certificates were found to be fake.

  64. I am disgusted by the letters that I see here. Any country where citizens are so risk adverse that they are willing to live under extreme totalitarianism deserve neither my funds nor my presence.
    All out of fear. No I am not proud of neither Australia nor Canada. I hope to see the day where Greg Hunt, Trudeau, Dan Andrews, Ford and others are in lengthy incarceration. This horrid event has taught me to value freedom as it is fragile, and far more precious then fear hysteria from a pathogen.

  65. Maybe if other countries had adopted the strong stance that Australia took/has taken in regards to COVID then the global situation may not be as bad as it is. Plaudits to a strong government and its citizens obeying the rules.

    I notice that the race card has been pulled by Indians. Really? Do you think that the colour of your skin is the issue? Or maybe the threat of infecting a pretty much COVID free country is really the governments concern. What do you think the response to Australian citizens/residents wanting to return from Brazil would be?

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