Friday, April 30, 2021

Flights from COVID-stricken India still possible through Doha, posing risk to government travel ban

Australian travel restrictions with India are not as watertight as some federal authorities had hoped, with Qatar Airways confirming it remains possible to travel from India to Australia through Doha.

Two Australian cricketers are demonstrating just how straightforward travel to Australia can be, arriving on a flight from Doha on Thursday afternoon.

It is understood they have received no special permissions to return, travelling under the existing rules.

Earlier this week the Prime Minister announced Australia would try and effectively cease travel from India to Australia, in response to India's escalating coronavirus crisis.

Direct commercial and repatriation flights from India to Australia have been suspended until mid-May in an effort to protect the hotel quarantine system.

During the Tuesday press conference, Scott Morrison suggested travel from India to Australia through third countries would also become near-impossible due to restrictions being imposed by those third countries.

"We are advised that indirect flights through Doha, Dubai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, we are aware flights to and from these transit points and India have been paused by the respective governments," he said.

"So that third country entry point into Australia has already been closed by those key embarkation points to Australia. 

"That will obviously have impacts, in a positive way, in terms of restricting the inflow and in fact in most cases eliminating it."

At least in the case of Doha, that does not appear to have happened.

Qatar Airways has confirmed to the ABC that it remains possible to travel from India to Australia, transiting through Doha.

30/04/21 Tom Lowrey and Jacob Kagi/

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