Travel arrangements to be strengthened for people who have been in India

The Hon Greg Hunt MP

Minister for Health and Aged Care

The Government will implement a temporary pause on travellers from India entering Australian territory if the passenger has been in India within 14 days of the person’s intended arrival date in Australia.

The temporary pause follows today’s meeting of National Cabinet and was based on advice about the worsening COVID-19 situation in India. The pause will come into effect at 12.01am on Monday, 3 May 2021.

The risk assessment that informed the decision was based on the proportion of overseas travellers in quarantine in Australia who have acquired a COVID-19 infection in India.

Failure to comply with an emergency determination under the Biosecurity Act 2015 may incur a civil penalty of 300 penalty units, five years’ imprisonment, or both.

The temporary pause will be reconsidered on 15 May by the Government following advice from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO). The CMO will consider the epidemiology in India and likely impacts on Australia’s quarantine capacity, and provide a further expert assessment of the public health risk to Australia to inform a proportionate response.

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.

India has been reporting more than 300,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day for the past week. The total number of cases in India is now close to 19 million and more than 200,000 people have died.

Our hearts go out to the people of India – and our Indian-Australian community. The friends and family of those in Australia are in extreme risk. Tragically, many are contracting COVID-19 and many, sadly, are dying every day.

Following consultation with the Indian Government, Australia has agreed to provide emergency medical supplies.

The initial package of support includes more than 1,000 non-invasive ventilators, with capacity to deploy up to a total of 3,000 ventilators.

The Government has offered to supply a significant package of personal protective equipment (PPE), including one million surgical masks, 500,000 P2/N95 masks, 100,000 surgical gowns, 100,000 goggles, 100,000 pairs of gloves and 20,000 face shields.

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