Australia offers items of critical help to India in fighting COVID tsunami
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a temporary halt to flights coming in from India while offering help to India as the nation grapples with second wave of COVID. Announcing a list of COVID fighting items that Australia will be providing to India, lending a hand in India’s efforts to arrest the deluge of COVID tsunami India is grappling with, PM Morrison also announced there will be no flights coming in from India until 15 May.
Here is a snapshot Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement this afternoon:
- Australia will implement a temporary pause on direct passenger flights between India and Australia for two weeks, with consideration of further flights to be made by 15 May.
o This will affect 2 passenger services from India into Sydney and 2 repatriation flights from India into Darwin (impacting around 500 arrivals).
- Passengers on all future flights will require a negative PCR tests and a negative Rapid Antigen Test prior to uplift
- Further flights to India will be considered by 15 May with a focus on supporting vulnerable Australians.
- For indirect flights through Doha, Dubai, Singapore and Kalua Lumpur – we are aware that flights to and from these transit points and India have been paused by respective governments.
- In addition to existing arrangements announced after National Cabinet on Friday
o The Commonwealth will further restrict outbound travel exemptions to high risk countries to strictly essential travel only (national interest, medical exemption and COVID purposes only).
Support for India
- The Fed Gov will provide an initial package of support as soon as possible, including:
o 500 non-invasive ventilators,
o 1 million surgical masks,
o 500,000 P2/N95 Masks,
o 100,000 surgical gowns,
o 100,000 goggles,
o 100,000 pairs of gloves,
o 20,000 face shields.
- As well as procurement of 100 oxygen concentrators, along with tanks and consumables for them
- DFAT will manage the movement of PPE and equipment over the next week.
The End COVID For All campaign has endorsed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement that Australia will provide ventilators and personal protective equipment to India as it battles through its COVID outbreak.
Also read: Morrison Modi catch up over telephone
Campaign spokesman, Reverend Tim Costello said:
“COVID is visiting untold misery on the Indian people and it is important for Australia to step up with proportionate, targeted support where it’s needed. Ventilators, oxygen concentrators, protective gowns, goggles and face shields are on their way to India. This will directly assist nurses, doctors and health workers to ease and prevent this awful outbreak.
“India is a nation with whom we have profound family, cultural and sporting ties. It is heartbreaking to see India battle this outbreak. This support from the Australian people is a good first step and I am confident the Prime Minister will make good on his promise to go further.
“The outbreak in India also shows just how vigilant we must be. COVID can easily mutate into new and more dangerous forms. And it can spread like wildfire. We must not forget that closer to home, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste are experiencing major surges, while Fiji is racing the clock to trace contacts and stem an outbreak.
“There is a compelling case to invest more to contain COVID among our near neighbours. In the upcoming Budget, we should pledge an additional $500 million in global vaccination efforts to end the pandemic and a further $1 billion to strengthen health systems in the Asia-Pacific.
“The longer this virus lingers, the more time it has to spread and mutate, taking lives and destroying livelihoods.
Further strengthening the argument for more targeted help across the world, Reverend Costello added:
“Vaccines simply aren’t being distributed equitably or fast enough. High income nations are being vaccinated 25 times faster than low income nations. We can and must do better.”
India currently has more than 2.88 million active cases of COVID and 197,894 Indians have lost their lives due to COVID. The real numbers are supposed to be much higher.