| 21 May 2024, Tuesday |

India’s daily COVID-19 cases rise by record 414,188

India reported on Friday a record daily rise in COVID-19 infections of 414,188, while fatalities from the coronavirus swelled by 3,915, health ministry data revealed.

The total COVID-19 cases in the South Asian nation now stand at 21.49 million, while its total deaths have reached 234,083. India has added 1.57 million infections and just over 15,100 fatalities this week alone.

This comes as Australia is set lift a ban on its citizens returning from COVID-ravaged India next week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, as state officials reported that an outbreak in Sydney appeared to be contained.

Last month, Morrison stood by his decision to impose a biosecurity order banning all travel to and from India, a policy that drew criticism from MPs , expatriates and the Indian diaspora.

The Australian premier said the travel ban, which was controversially backed by jail terms and financial penalties for anybody who attempted to circumvent it by flying via a third country, had prevented Australia’s hotel quarantine system from being overwhelmed.

“The order that we have put in place has been highly effective, it’s doing the job that we needed it to do, and that was to ensure that we could do everything we can to prevent a third wave of COVID-19 here in Australia,” Morrison told reporters.

Morrison said Australia will charter 3 repatriation flights between May 15 and May 31, prioritizing nearly 900 people deemed most vulnerable. The government estimates that roughly 9,000 Australian citizens and permanent residents are in India.

Prospective travelers will need to return a negative coronavirus test, and will be required to undertake the standard 14-day hotel quarantine imposed on incoming travelers.

The PM also noted that his cabinet is unlikely to allow the resumption of direct commercial flights from India in the near term and has instead asked state authorities to accept more repatriation flights.

  • Reuters