The Latest: Australia PM stands firm on India flight halt

Full Screen
1 / 8

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Relatives bury the body of a COVID-19 victim at a graveyard in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. India's official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million Tuesday, nearly doubling in the past three months, while deaths officially have passed 220,000. Staggering as those numbers are, the true figures are believed to be far higher, the undercount an apparent reflection of the troubles in the health care system. (AP Photo/Ishant Chauhan)

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s prime minister is resisting mounting pressure to lift a temporary ban on flights from India, saying any early resumption of arrivals from that pandemic hot spot would erode Australia’s quarantine capability.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday that the pause of flights that began last week will continue until May 15.

Lawyers are planning a legal challenge to the government’s ability to prevent around 9,000 citizens and permanent residents from returning home from India.

Critics of the travel pause include former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, several Australian lawmakers and leaders of the country’s Indian community.

___

THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— White House goal to vaccinate 70% of US adults by July 4

— ‘Horrible’ weeks ahead as India’s virus catastrophe worsens