Australia yesterday imposed some very serious restrictions on travellers coming from India. This means that the Australian government will block travellers from entering the country if they have been in India in the last 14 days before departing for Australia. Let’s find out about this more.
Whole different level of travel ban
With India currently experiencing its worst wave of COVID-19 cases, countries around the world are banning travel from India. For example, just yesterday, IH Aviation and Travel reported that United States has banned travel from India, though that does not apply to Americans.
Australia has imposed a whole different level of travel ban.
From Monday, 3rd May 2021, Australia will ban all travellers, be it citizens or residents, from returning to the country if they have been in India for the last 14 days.
Further, if anyone violates this rule, he/she could face up to five years in jail and/or a fine of up to 66,000 Australian Dollars. This is the 1st time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that Australia has made it a criminal offense for Australians to return to their home country.
As Greg Hunt, Health Minister, Australia, 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.
Restrictions in place for at least 12 days
The Australian government notes that the temporary ban will be reconsidered on 15th May 2021, in consultation with the country’s Chief Medical Officer.
Aren’t Australia’s borders closed already?
If you are thinking whether Australia’s borders are closed already, you are right. Australia’s borders remain closed since the start of the pandemic. However, some kind of travel has still been taking place – in the form of repatriation flights to bring back Australians home.
Currently, the only people allowed to travel to Australia are:
- Australian citizens
- permanent residents
- immediate family members
- and as of recently, travelers who have been in New Zealand territory (New Zealand and Tokelau) for at least the 14 days before the date of departure. (This does not include the Realm Countries of the Cook Islands and Niue.)
Australia restricts the number of arrivals per week – capping the number of seats airlines can offer. This has left thousands of Australian residents and citizens stranded outside the country, hoping to book an available ticket or pay exorbitant prices for premium seats that might be more readily available.
In recent weeks, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the UAE, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom are among some of the countries that have introduced travel bans or restrictions in the last few days.
Are you affected by this travel ban? Let me know in the comments section below.