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The first repatriation flight from India since the travel ban might arrive at less than half capacity after nearly 40 Australians have tested positive for COVID-19 in India. Combined with their close contacts and relatives, this means that 70 Australians will not be allowed to board the flight.
As part of the conditions to fly back from India, travellers are expected to return two negative tests: a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test and a negative Rapid Antigen test.
“Obviously I’m disappointed, as are those Australians who will not be on today’s flight,” Barry Mr O’Farrell, Australia’s High Commissioner to India, told the ABC.
The flight is set to depart from New Delhi to Darwin, where travellers would be quarantined in Howard Springs.
Repatriation flights from India were expected to depart with anywhere between 100-200 people with a frequency of one flight every 7-9 days. They were aimed to assist the nearly 10,000 Australians currently stranded in India, which include over 170 unaccompanied children.
It remains unclear whether the now 70 empty seats on the repatriation flight will be offered to other vulnerable Australians before departure.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is yet to provide more clarifications on the matter.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 20,000 Australians have returned on repatriation flights.
For more details on flights from India, please contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on 1300 555 135 (in Australia) or +61 262 613 305 (overseas).
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