Australians wanting to fly home from India will face five years jail time under new criminal offence laws that could come into effect within 48 hours.
Returning citizens who have been in India in the past two weeks will be threatened with the prison sentence, according to Nine’s political reporter Chris Uhlman.
Nine news reported the Federal Government’s tough new policy on Friday night, saying it was understood the law would be passed under the Biosecurity Act from as early as midnight on Saturday.
Australia has paused all direct flights from India for at least three weeks, fuelled by a rise in the number of positive cases linked to recent repatriation flights from the country.
The report said the penalty would be five years in jail or a $66,000 fine.
The country is currently facing a massive humanitarian crises as the sick face a lack of hospital beds and distraught people flood social media with pleas for oxygen and medicine.
It would be the first law in Australia’s history to make it illegal for Australians to return home, making it a crime for anyone who has been in a high-risk country 14 days prior to arrival.
It comes after a loophole allowed travellers from COVID-ravaged India to avoid Australia’s flight ban this week by transiting through Qatar’s capital Doha…