Australians returning home from India could face up to five years in prison and fines after the government temporarily outlaws travel.
According to the Ministry of Health, the decision was made “based on the proportion of quarantined people who have contracted Covid-19 in India.”
Earlier this week, Australia banned all flights from India.
There are an estimated 9,000 Australians in India, 600 of whom are classified as vulnerable.
This is the first time Australians have been prosecuted for returning to their home country, according to Australian media.
One of the doctors told ABC that the government’s move was disproportionate to the threat of returnees from India.
“Our families are literally dying in India abroad … to drive them out with absolutely no eggs.” That’s leaving, ”said Diom Sharmer, GP’s health commentator.
From Monday, anyone who is in India, Australia within 14 days of their scheduled arrival date will be barred from entering the country.
Failure to comply with the new decision could result in up to five years in prison, a fine of $ 66,000 (37 37,000), or both. The decision will be reviewed on May 15, according to the Ministry of Health.
“The government is not making these decisions lightly,” said Health Minister Greg Hunt.
“However, it is possible that the integrity of Australia’s public health հանր quarantine systems is protected, and the number of Covid-19 cases in quarantine facilities is being managed.”
Violation of rights
Francis Mao, BBC News Sydney
There is an inscription on the front coat of every Australian passport. It calls for the protection and assistance of citizens in the event of a conflict abroad.
“The Commonwealth of Australia: asks all those who may be concerned to allow the carrier, an Australian citizen, to cross freely without hindrance; to afford any assistance or protection he may need.”
Who would have thought that Australians are now struggling to “pass freely” and return to their country? Re-entering և living in your nation is a key aspect of citizenship. The right of return is recognized in international law enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
But for Australians who are stuck, the problem is that you can’t challenge a UN treaty in an Australian court. Citizenship rights և Many other freedoms are not guaranteed by their legislation. Australia lacks a human rights charter or explicit protection of its constitution.
So in an emergency, the government can commit a crime overnight. At the height of last year’s epidemic, the government stepped up its Life Insurance Act to give the health minister unconditional powers, bypassing parliament.
That is why citizens who are now trying to escape from the danger zone can be imprisoned for returning home. The legal challenge of this two-week ban is time consuming and costly. Public outrage and pressure can be the only effective way.
The ministry said it had agreed with India to send emergency medical supplies, including air conditioners and personal protective equipment.
“Our hearts go out to the people of India, to our Indo-Australian community,” the statement added.
Cases have been reported in India, which have reached 19 million people, and a total of 200 thousand people have died. More than 300,000 new cases were reported every day last week.
Australia has taken a number of tough measures to keep the virus out of the country since the outbreak began in 2020. In February. While the country enjoys an almost zero infection rate, with far fewer casualties than many countries, the tight blockade policy has left Australians out of the country.
The ban on arrivals in India is tightening this week. For the first time, the country has stopped evacuations, blocking citizens from returning home altogether. It has intensified calls for more Australians to return home.