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Australians traveling from India treated as criminals

Australians traveling from India treated as criminals
Australians traveling from India - courtesy of AP Rafiq Maqbool

Beginning Monday, May 3, 2021, Australian residents and citizens may face fines and jail time if they choose to fly home from severely COVID-hit India.

  1. As the number of COVID cases surges in India, Australia has implemented new travel protocols for citizens and residents trying to travel back home.
  2. A temporary emergency declaration was announced yesterday that goes into effect starting Monday, May 3.
  3. Some are calling the move racist and outrageous.

This temporary “emergency determination” issued late on Friday is the first time Australia has made it a criminal offence for its citizens to return home. Any Australian resident or citizen trying to return from India will be banned from entering their home country and may also face fines and jail time.

The move is part of strict measures to stop travelers to Australia from the world’s second most populous nation as it contends with a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that anyone attempting to defy the new rules would be hit with fines of up to 66,600 Australian dollars ($51,800), five years in prison, or both, the Australian Associated Press reported.

“The government does not make these decisions lightly,” Hunt said in a statement. “However, it is critical the integrity of the Australian public health and quarantine systems is protected and the number of COVID-19 cases in quarantine facilities is reduced to a manageable level.”