Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the departure date of the first rescue plane from COVID-devastating India

The number of rescue planes expected from India has risen since the National Cabinet meeting, with Scott Morrison confirming when the first will depart.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that the first rescue plane from COVID-devastating India will depart on May 15.

The repatriation flight is expected to leave India on the same day after the travel ban is lifted. Passengers will be taken to the Northern Territory, where they will be separated from the Howard Springs quarantine Facility.

Two more federal government-organized rescue flights are also expected to be launched in May, giving priority to the most vulnerable Australians stranded in India.

“Those charter flights will certainly focus on bringing Australian citizens, residents and families who have been registered with our High Commission and Consular Offices into India. And it will also target the most vulnerable 900 people in the group,” said Mr. Morrison.

The announcement came after PM’s meeting with state and regional leaders at National Cabinet.

Mr. Morrison said he believed there would be a total of six flights this month after NSW, Victoria and Queensland, adding that they would allow returnees from India to their hotel quarantine system. However, it is not clear who will take the remaining three flights.

Mr. Morrison said the planes would carry about 150 passengers.

He could not guarantee that the 900 vulnerable Australians would return on these six flights.

“You have family members, I need to stress and vulnerable people as well, and it’s not our practice to divide families,” Mr. Morrison said.

However, commercial flights between India and Australia are not expected to resume on May 15.

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