Australia is considering imposing prison sentences on those who return from a “high risk” country due to COVID-19

Passengers line up in front of the check-in counters for New Zealand flights at Sydney International Airport on April 19, 2021, as Australia and New Zealand open a quarantine-free travel bubble via Tasman. (Photo by Saeed Khan / AFP)

The Australian government is considering switching to Crime is returning to the country from areas of high epidemic risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move comes after the two Australian cricketers who were in India returned home on Thursday after crossing through Qatar, although earlier in the week the government banned all direct flights from India, which has been struck by Covid.

It has also been confirmed Guardian Australia, The Scott Morrison administration is considering the option of criminalizing repatriation from countries with severe outbreaks. The biosafety regulations invoked by the Public Health Department during a pandemic are already granting government authorities sweeping powers.

Biosafety Control Orders It currently allows authorities to require a person to provide contact details, update the officer periodically about their health condition, restrict the person’s movement for a specified period, undergo disinfection, provide body samples for diagnosis, conduct treatment or receive a vaccine, or stay in Australia. For a period of up to 28 days, or for you to be in isolation in a medical facility.

In addition to control orders, regulations give the Minister of Health the power to define biosafety-related emergencies. These powers allow the administrator.Determine any requirements he deems necessary. To prevent disease entry or spread.

Punished for non-compliance offenses With five years in prison or a fine of A $ 63,000. The same penalties apply for non-compliance with the control order.

File Photo: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, 2020 (Reuters) / Isa Kato
File Photo: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, 2020 (Reuters) / Isa Kato

But colleges are subject to guarantees that the requirements imposed by the Minister of Health must be “Likely to be effective”, “appropriate and adaptive” to their purpose and “not to be more restrictive or intrusive than is required in the circumstances.”

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Australia has halted direct commercial and government flights to return home from India until mid-May, given the dramatic escalation in COVID-19 cases and deaths. This decision left the more than 9,000 Australian citizens who registered with the State Department in limbo. About 650 of them are considered vulnerable.

India is currently in the grip of a devastating second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the number of daily cases exceeding it 320,000 and conservative estimates of 17.6 million infected.

Hospitals are running out of oxygen and more than 2,800 people die every day. In the capital, New Delhi, a person dies every four minutes.

Almost 20,000 people have returned to Australia from India since March 2020.

After the national cabinet meeting on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a statement saying that the governments “They took note of measures that have been implemented to restrict entry to Australia for people who have previously been in high-risk countries identified by the Chief Medical Officer.

“The National Cabinet has taken note of the Medical Director’s assessment that India is the first country to reach the threshold of a high-risk country,” The statement said.

Earlier in the day, Morrison told Sydney Radio 2GB that a loophole through which travelers could circumvent the flight ban in India by transiting through a third country that had been closed on Wednesday night.

That flight the cricketers were on managed to escape shortly before. The prime minister said. “We had information on Monday that this is not possible,” he added.

The prime minister said the federal government “We will take more action.” To ensure that passengers do not circumvent the restrictions, he added He will talk to prime ministers about that and when we meet in the national cabinet. “

Passengers at Melbourne Airport, Australia.  EFE / EPA / ERIK ANDERSON / Australia
Passengers at Melbourne Airport, Australia. EFE / EPA / ERIK ANDERSON / Australia

The ninth network Friday evening reported that Greg Hunt, the federal health secretary, Authorities under the Biosafety Act could be called in early on Saturday to prevent Australians from returning home if they had been in a high-risk country in the previous 14 days.

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A recent batch of COVID-19 infections in Perth was reported to have come from a man who had traveled to India to attend a wedding and had returned to quarantine at the Mercure Perth Hotel.

Flight restrictions restricting the number of passengers who can enter Australia each week have been controversial during the pandemic and have left tens of thousands of citizens stranded abroad.

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