When Australia threatened to jail citizens who violated a ban on return from India during a severe coronavirus wave, it justified the measure by saying it wanted to ensure public safety.
But the travel ban – which carries criminal penalties of up to five years in prison – has sparked a backlash from civil rights activists, the Indian diaspora and the cricket community, claiming it was racist, illegal and cruel.
“It’s a shame !! Blood on your hands PM, “Michael Slater, former Australian cricketer and commentator covering the Indian Premier League, wrote on Twitter, referring to Scott Morrison.
The government returned the support, calling Slater a “spoiled jerk” and suggesting that he should take personal responsibility for traveling to India to work at the lucrative tournament during a pandemic. Canberra also denied that its border security policy was racist or designed to win votes.
But the controversy has reignited a debate over the government’s accountability to thousands of citizens. stranded abroad due to strict flight restrictions and travel bans to keep Covid-19 out of Australia.
He also highlighted how Australia, previously a world leader in managing the pandemic, has struggled to reopen to the world due to a botched vaccine rollout and a leaking hotel quarantine system.
About 9,000 Australian citizens want to return home from India, which on Thursday recorded a world record of 414,182 cases of Covid-19. Tens of thousands of Australians get stuck In other countries.
Morrison, the Prime Minister, said he had to make tough decisions to ensure a third wave of infections did not reach Australia, a country that almost eliminated the community has spread from the coronavirus, with few cases recorded outside of the hotel’s quarantine.
“The probability of it all [jail or fines] occurs is practically zero, ”he said as criticism mounted over the two-week ban, which is expected to remain in effect until May 15.
The federal and state governments of Australia have won to rent for tough measures to suppress Covid-19, including closing its international borders at the start of the crisis.
But critics said the government left the country vulnerable to Covid-19 outbreaks by vaccinate less more than one in 10 people and by resisting calls from opposition parties and health experts to build specialized quarantine centers.
“They just got cocky and confident and thought they didn’t need to do anything else because everyone loved going to the beach,” said Andrew Miller, president of the Australian Medical Association in Australia. Western.
Miller said data showing that one in 110 positive cases quarantined in a hotel had resulted in a leak and the spread of the community had prompted Canberra to impose a travel ban on India, fearing further outbreaks.
This week, the government said it was considering using a former mining camp in the Remote Northern Territory to repatriate Australians from India after the ban was lifted. He was also discussing a proposal from the government of the state of Victoria for a separate and specially designed quarantine center.
But it was the threats of criminal charges linked to the travel ban that infuriated many Australians. Opponents alleged the sanctions were unique in the developed world and possibly illegal.
Indian community leaders argued that Australian citizens of Indian descent felt like second class citizens. “People think it’s racist,” said Jagvinder Singh Virk, president of the India-Australia Strategic Alliance. He told Australian media that the restrictions were akin to White Australia’s policy, which sought to prevent the migration of non-Europeans for much of the 20th century, by going “under the radar.”
In India, a 73-year-old man from Melbourne stranded in Bangalore challenged whether orders made under Australia’s biosafety law violated the constitution, in a case due to be heard from Monday.
The restrictions have also drawn criticism from backbench MPs and even conservative columnists at the Australian newspaper, a staunch supporter of the Morrison government.
“It was heartless and while opinions can differ on the legality of government action, the point is they are immoral and cowardly because of the prime minister’s critical failures to take on difficult tasks,” Niki wrote. Savva, a columnist.
Savva added that the measures resembled an old-fashioned political calculation of where the most votes could be won or lost.
Closing national and international borders to prevent the spread of the virus has become a popular strategy during the pandemic, according to polling experts.
“The travel ban will be opposed by relatively small groups of people, such as newly arrived immigrants,” Ian McAllister, professor of politics at the Australian National University. “However, the loss of their support will be far less than the support they attract for the measures from the general public.”