Thursday, May 27, 2021

Flight from India lands in Victoria hours before lockdown begins

The first repatriation flight from India to Melbourne touched down early on Thursday evening, several hours before the Victorian government’s seven-day snap lockdown begins.

About 150 people on Qantas QF112 flight from Delhi to Melbourne via Darwin landed at Melbourne Airport around 5pm, following an 18-hour journey.

Some of the travellers had been bumped off the first repatriation flight after returning a positive COVID-19 test from a laboratory that has since had its accreditation suspended following complaints about inaccurate tests.

Victoria had moved to shut its borders to international travellers during previous lockdowns, but acting Premier James Merlino said the scheduled repatriation flights from the COVID-ravaged country would not be cancelled. Nor would flights from other countries, with Victoria continuing to take 1000 people a week.

“We’ve got a responsibility and an agreement at a national level to support the repatriation of Australian citizens and residents,” Mr Merlino said. “They’ll be going straight through to hotel quarantine.”

The expat Australians arriving in Melbourne from India were required to return a negative result to a COVID-19 test administered once daily over three days in a quarantine hotel in Delhi. On arrival, they will enter hotel quarantine for 14 days.

27/05/21  Timna Jacks/The Age

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