Australia cuts direct flights from India after mass COVID outbreak

Australia will reduce flights from India, which is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, and will also limit Australians who need to go there to “only very urgent cases”.

Some flights are coming in from India to Darwin, under special arrangements, as well as to Sydney.

There are more than 34,000 Australians overseas who want to come back, including from India.

“What we have agreed to do, and this particularly relates to the chartered services we’re running into the Northern Territory, we will be reducing by some 30 per cent the numbers coming through our chartered services in the months ahead,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“We will also be limiting the departure exceptions for Australians travelling to high-risk countries … to India.

“So those who may have been going for family events such as weddings or sadly funerals, these were things that were restricted in Australia for Australians, in this country.

“There are some exemptions that are provided in these circumstances, and we’ll be instructing the Border Force to ensure only very urgent circumstances would an exemption be permitted for someone to travel to a high-risk country.”

Flights coming into Sydney from India will be cut by 30 per cent. Australians already need an exemption to go abroad and can only go for a small list of reasons.

“There are many countries in the world, the Prime Minister was talking about India, that is in very serious situations with COVID and the risk of COVID importation and outbreak in Australia is ever present,” Chief Health Minister, Brendan Murphy said.