Australian citizens stranded in India amid pandemic surge allowed to return from May 15 onwards

Australian citizens stranded in Covid-ravaged India will be able to return home from May 15, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, as Sydney remains on high alert for a potential outbreak, report by Reuters. Morrison stood by his decision to impose a biosecurity order barring flights to and from India, a ban that was backed by potential prosecution and financial penalties.

The policy drew heavy criticism from lawmakers, expatriates and the Indian diaspora, but Morrison said it had worked to slow the rate of Covid-19 infections in people quarantined in Australia. “National Security Committee of Cabinet has confirmed that it will have done its job by then, and as a result we see no need to extend it beyond that date,” Morrison told reporters. The health officials were still trying to track the missing links in the case of a 50-year-old man who was diagnosed with an Indian variant of Covid-19. Genomic sequencing had linked the case to a returned traveller from the United States, but there was no clear transmission path between the two people. The man infected his wife and state health officials are due to announce later on Friday if there are more cases.