How travellers are easily arriving in Australia from coronavirus-ravaged India through a sneaky loophole despite promises it was impossible
- Cricketers have shown how travellers can get around ban on flights with India
- Australia suspended direct commercial and chartered repatriation flights
- Travellers can get around ban by transiting through the Qatar capital of Doha
- Cricketers Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa flew into Melbourne from Doha
Travellers can still easily fly into Australia from coronavirus-riddled India through the sneaky loophole of flying through Doha.
The federal government suspended all direct commercial and chartered repatriation flights this week as India’s second horror wave of the virus worsens.
The decision left 9,000 Australians stranded in India until at least May 15.
But travellers are able to around the ban by transiting through the Qatar capital of Doha.
Australian cricketers Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa used the loophole to flee India and arrived in Melbourne on Thursday night.
Cricketer Adam Zampa (pictured with his fiancée Harriet Palmer) used the loophole to flee India and arrived in Melbourne on Thursday night
It’s understood they have received no special permissions to return, travelling under the existing rules, ABC News reported.
Qatar Airways confirmed flights from India to Australia via Doha were still available.
‘You can still travel outbound from India through Doha and on to Australia with the right documentation,’ Qatar Airways told the ABC.
Zampa and Richardson will spend the next two weeks in mandatory hotel quarantine before reuniting with their loved ones.
The pair were among almost 40 Australian players, coaches, officials and broadcast staff in the sub-continent nation for the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Royal Challengers Bangalore players flew to Mumbai from their IPL bubble in Chennai on Monday planning to return home via Doha but were blindsided by Australia’s ban on passenger flights from India.
But the relieved pair managed to get tickets to Doha on Wednesday before securing seats on a chartered flight back to Australia, The Australian reported.
Former Labor federal treasurer Wayne Swan has slammed the federal government over the loophole.
‘They should have had at an eye for the detail. It’s not that hard surely,’ he told the Today show on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed earlier this week travel from India to Australia through third countries would become near-impossible.
‘We are advised that indirect flights through Doha, Dubai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, we are aware flights to and from these transit points and India have been paused by the respective governments,’ he said.
‘So that third country entry point into Australia has already been closed by those key embarkation points to Australia.
‘That will obviously have impacts, in a positive way, in terms of restricting the inflow and in fact in most cases eliminating it.’
Australia is among 20 countries that have banned flights from India, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, France, Canada, the UAE, US and UK.
However, no restrictions are in place for China or Qatar.
This means those stuck abroad can sidestep regulations by travelling via either of the two countries, which are currently operating flights into Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne.
India recorded more than more 386,000 new infections on Thursday, the world’s biggest one day increase on record.
Australia’s Adam Zampa (left) and teammate Kane Richardson (right) flew into Melbourne on Thursday night