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Australia considers flight bans on more high-risk countries

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Australia’s leaders will today consider classifying more coronavirus-stricken countries as high risk after the federal government suspended all flights from India until at least next month.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison will chair Friday’s national cabinet meeting of state premiers and territory chief ministers.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly and foreign affairs officials have been putting together a list of high-risk countries for consideration.

India set another world record on Thursday with more than 379,000 new cases and 3645 deaths.

Flights from there have been paused until at least May 15, leaving nearly 9000 Australians who want to escape the disease disaster stranded.

While the nation is so far the only country deemed high risk, Morrison has flagged a British-style model of slapping travel bans on “red list” countries with significant outbreaks.

Under the UK system, only citizens can return from the designated nations with others blocked from travelling.

National cabinet will also receive a regular update on Australia’s case load as infections in quarantine rise from Indian arrivals before the flight pause.

South Australia was granted a three-day “reprieve” on international travel this week, following the arrival of a Malaysia Airlines flight from Chennai, via Kuala Lumpur, in Adelaide on Saturday.

A total of 14 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in SA’s medi-hotels 48 hours after the flight landed.

Three international flights have arrived in Adelaide since the arrivals pause ended on Wednesday.

This includes two flights from Singapore on Wednesday and one Qatar Airways flight from Doha which landed around 8:30pm last night.

SA Health advised they were anticipating around 76 passengers to be on each flight.

Despite the federal government’s suspension on Indian travel, the ABC revealed yesterday that transit from India to Australia via Qatar is still possible.

Cricketers Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson, who both chose to return to Australia rather than play in the Indian Premier League, arrived in Melbourne Thursday afternoon on a commercial flight from Doha.

This is despite the prime minister advising on Tuesday that flights from India into the transit hubs of Doha, Dubai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur had been “paused” by the respective governments of each country.

-with AAP

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