First flight lands in Australia as India travel ban ends

Covid 19 coronavirus: 70 Aussies barred from flying out of India

Australians onboard the government's first repatriation flight out of India have taken off on schedule and are now en-route to Darwin.

Almost half of the 150 people booked to return to Australia from India on the first repatriation flight since last month's flight ban was introduced will now no longer be able to board the plane.

The repatriation flights facilitated by the Australian government for its stranded citizens in India resumed from Friday following a two weeks ban due to the COVID-19 health crisis in India.

It was scheduled to carry up to 150 passengers but in the end, only carried 80 people back to Australia.

Under the arrangement, those who test positive for the virus, or were deemed close contacts, have to remain in India until they return a negative test.

According to a report by the ABC, over 40 people booked on tonight's flight out of India returned a positive COVID result.

'Regrettably those people will have to return home and deal with the COVID that they have, or continue to isolate to prove that they don't have COVID'.

QF112 departed New Delhi at 20.05 Friday (00.35 Saturday AEST) from Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport, according to the airport's live flight information.

The arrivals will quarantine at Outback quarantine facility Howard Springs for at least a fortnight.

India has reported more than 300,000 daily cases for the last three weeks, overwhelming its health system.

There are about 9,000 Australian citizens and permanent residents in India seeking flights home.

It is not yet clear if authorities had a stand-by list of passengers for the rest of the almost 9,000 Australians and permanent residents looking to get home from Covid-ravaged India.

The government later made it a formal crime for anyone to attempt the trip, punishable with a $66,000 fine.

The flight is due to leave New Delhi on Friday night and scheduled to touch down in Darwin on Saturday morning after 9am, where passengers will be whisked away to an old mining camp at Howard Springs to undergo two weeks of quarantine.

The PM said it would first target the 900 "most vulnerable" Australians stuck in India.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the controversial weeks-long pause in travel from India had worked, with active cases in hotel quarantine dropping more than 40 per cent over the past few weeks. It has also carried life-saving oxygen equipment to India to support its Covid-19 response, she said.

The move to stop repatriating expats in India was a blow to the more than 9,000 in the country who are registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as wanting to return.



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