[Updated 28th April, 2021]
Direct flights between Australia and India have been paused until 15 May 2021. The announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison comes as India struggles with a wave of COVID-19 cases combined with an increase in the number of coronavirus cases among returned travellers in hotel quarantine, many returning from India.
The Australian Government has announced that, effective immediately, outbound travel exemptions are no longer available for travel to India, except in extremely limited circumstances. In addition, existing travel exemptions for India have been cancelled, where the holder has not already departed Australia. Anyone expecting to travel to India in the coming few days will need to re-apply if they wish to depart.
The decision is due to a significant public health risk travel to India poses. Until further notice, outwards travel exemptions will only be approved for travel to India in extremely limited circumstances, such as:
- critical workers providing assistance to India’s COVID-19 response;
- people undertaking travel in Australia’s national interest;
- or people seeking urgent medical treatment for a critical illness that is unable to be treated in Australia.
Supporting evidence must be provided.
These changes do not impact people that have already travelled and are now overseas who can return to Australia, subject to flight availability and pre-flight testing requirements.
These changes come on top of the National Cabinet’s recent announcement that a temporary reduction to the number of incoming flights from India amid a rising number of COVID-19 cases in returning passengers.
Given that overseas jurisdictions including Canada and the UK have moved to prevent or prohibit people travelling from India, it is possible the Australian government will make more significant restrictions in the near future.
For further information on Australia’s travel restrictions, please refer to the Home Affairs website at https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/