First shipment of Covid medical supplies from Britain to India arrives

First shipment of Covid medical supplies from Britain to India arrives


Australia has announced a temporary ban on direct passenger flights from India, as the South Asian nation grapples with a massive surge in coronavirus infections.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the suspension would remain in place until at least May 15 due to “clearly present” risks of travel from India, leaving thousands of Australians – including high-profile cricketers – stranded.

Mr Morrison said Australia would send medical aid – including oxygen tanks, ventilators and personal protective equipment – to India as its health system strains under the growing caseload.

The nation of 1.3 billion people recorded 352,991 new infections and 2,812 deaths on Monday – its highest levels since the pandemic began.

Mr Morrison said India was enduring a “terrible humanitarian crisis” that was also hitting Australian families with ties to the country.

“The scenes that we’re seeing from India are truly heartbreaking,” he said.

The flight ban comes a day after authorities lifted stay-at-home orders for two million people in Perth, in Australia’s west, where a snap lockdown was imposed after a man who returned from his wedding in India infected others in quarantine.

The virus then spread to others in the community, prompting calls from some state leaders for Canberra to toughen its approach to travel from the subcontinent.

Mr Morrison stressed that the suspension was not a permanent measure, saying repatriation flights would resume with the “most vulnerable” given priority.

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