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Melbourne: Australia on Tuesday suspended all direct passenger flights from India for the next three weeks due to the unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

The pause on arrivals would be reassessed before May 15, Morrison said.

The decision was taken during a meeting of Cabinet’s national security committee to consider the move to temporarily restrict flights from India along with what equipment and assistance could be sent.

The flight suspension is expected to affect direct flights to Sydney and two repatriation flights scheduled to arrive in Darwin, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

There are about 9,000 Australians in India who are registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as wanting to return home, the report said.

India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days, and hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds. On Monday, the country recorded 3,52,991 cases on Monday, the highest so far.

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