Call for flight ban in India after WA business | Liverpool City Champion


Western Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan urged the federal government to halt flights from India, describing the South Asian nation as “the epicenter of death and destruction.”

Mr McGowan said on Tuesday that WA had emerged from its instant lockdown with a $ 70 million impact on the state’s economy, but no new locally acquired cases.

He said the state had recorded four new infections from travelers returning to hotel quarantine while raising concerns about the integrity of pre-flight testing in India.

“There has to be a suspension,” McGowan told reporters.

“We obviously have a problem with India … some of the tests conducted are not precise or are not credible, and that is clearly causing problems here.”

“People went there… for weddings, funerals or to play sports, and I don’t think it was necessary.

“This is a big risk to our hotel quarantine system and you can see the consequences.”

Interim restrictions remain in place in WA until 12:01 a.m. on Saturdays, including mandatory wearing of face masks and limits on gatherings.

Two locally acquired infections were found from more than 29,000 tests after the virus leaked out of Perth’s Mercure quarantine hotel.

The WA health department was aware of the Mercury ventilation issues but believed the risk could be mitigated.

The outbreak has renewed concerns about quarantine in hotels and prompted the federal government to invest in purpose-built facilities.

Mr McGowan also reiterated his wish for the Commonwealth to open air bases and Christmas Island to accommodate returning travelers.

He previously accused the federal government of wanting states to “do all the work” in managing return travelers.

“If they are not ready to do it, we will just have to drop the number of returnees in Australia,” he said on Monday.

“And it will be sad for many families, but we cannot go through these kinds of events.”

The prime minister apologized for the lockdown, but said he would not hesitate to implement such a response again.

WA’s cap on international arrivals will be cut in half to 512 per week for the next month, with McGowan not ruling out extending the reduction.

Federal officials insist that facilities such as air bases are not suitable for quarantine.

The prime minister’s office released figures showing 140,355 people had quarantined a hotel in the past six months.

Thirteen escapes have been recorded across the country, less than 0.01% of travelers quarantined.

The guest from Mercury whose infection led to the epidemic had obtained an exemption to travel to India last December to get married.

He and his wife tested positive in quarantine in hotels upon their return to Australia earlier this month.

Genomic tests confirmed the virus had spread from the couple to several other guests in adjoining rooms, including a man from Melbourne who only tested positive after completing quarantine and spending five days in the community .

He then infected two other people.

Authorities identified 368 close contacts of confirmed cases and 255 returned negative test results on Tuesday.

Australian Associated Press

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