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Australia monitors India flight reductions

AAP logo AAP 23/04/2021 Matt Coughlan
a man wearing glasses: Scott Morrison has left the door open to even harsher inbound travel restrictions for India. © Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS Scott Morrison has left the door open to even harsher inbound travel restrictions for India.

Australia has left the door open to even harsher inbound travel restrictions for India as hotel quarantine cases continue to rise.

The federal government is cutting repatriation and direct flight arrivals by 30 per cent with India in the grips of a catastrophic outbreak.

It recorded a grim world record for the second consecutive day with more than 332,000 new cases, up from 314,835 in the previous 24 hours.

People who have been in high-risk countries including India in the past two weeks will need to test negative for the disease within three days of boarding a flight to Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was comfortable with the measures announced but didn't rule out increased restrictions if states and territories requested them.

"The pandemic is raging around the world and I don't expect this to be the last time when we have to make such a decision," he told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

Perth and Western Australia's Peel region will go into a three-day lockdown from midnight on Friday after a hotel quarantine outbreak led to community transmission.

The virus spread in the corridors of a quarantine hotel in Perth, infecting a man who was staying adjacent to a couple with the virus who returned from India.

The man had tested negative before returning home to Victoria, spending time in venues across Perth - and infecting a friend - which has prompted the initial three-day lockdown.


Video: Documents reveal South Australia hospital cuts (9News.com.au)

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WA Premier Mark McGowan has asked Mr Morrison if the state can halve the number of weekly international arrivals over the next month, from 1025 to 512.

The Northern Territory recorded 13 new cases in arrivals from India on Friday. Of the 38 active cases in the NT, 35 are people who flew in from India.

In NSW, there were 18 new hotel quarantine infections but authorities are remaining tight-lipped about their origin.

The percentage of quarantine cases from India has jumped from 10 to 40 per cent.

Direct flights from India only arrive in Sydney and Darwin.

Other countries could also be included in the restrictions, once Australia drafts its high-risk nation list.

Australia's sluggish immunisation program continues to come under fire with national cabinet agreeing to a major reset in a bid to salvage its progress.

AstraZeneca jabs will be available for people over 50 at state and territory vaccination centres as well as respiratory clinics from May 3, before being sent to all GPs from May 17.

Just over nine per cent or 1.85 million Australians have now been vaccinated, with almost 70,000 doses administered in the past 24 hours.

In contrast, the United States has vaccinated more than half of its adult population, while the United Kingdom is sitting on 63 per cent.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said other nations were beginning to look at the slow progress.

"Australia, in terms of the vaccine rollout, it's been appalling, the gap between what the government promised and what has actually been delivered," he told reporters in Bendigo.

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