Australian citizens in virus-stricken India could face hefty fines up to $66,000 and even jail time if they try to return home. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt this morning confirmed a temporary pause on travellers will come into effect on Monday.
The penalties are being invoked under the Biosecurity Act to stop people coming here from India via other countries such as Singapore or the United Arab Emirates. Mr Hunt confirmed the new measures will take effect from Monday and applies to any travellers who have visited India within 14 days of their intended arrival date in Australia. Changes to the Biosecurity Act mean Australians could face up to five years in jail and heavy fines if they flee the COVID-ravaged country to return home. It is understood to be the first time Australia has banned its own citizens from returning, to the point of there being criminal sanctions for those who make it home. Mr Frydenberg says the government has acted on medical advice to keep Australians safe and also were due to an “unmanageable” number of arrivals from the country who have tested positive to COVID-19.