Covid-19: Australian flight arrives half empty from India

Seventy people were prevented from boarding the flight, either because they tested positive for Covid-19 or were close contacts. (file pic) Photo: AFP

The Qantas jet touched down at the RAAF base shortly before 9am, local time.

It was scheduled to carry up to 150 passengers but in the end only carried 80 people back to Australia.

A total of 70 people were barred from boarding; 46 of those tested positive to Covid-19, while 24 others were identified as close contacts.

While the government tried to fill the flight with more passengers, it struggled to do so because of the window for pre-flight testing restrictions.

The new arrivals have been taken to the Howard Springs centre where they will remain in quarantine for a fortnight.

Howard Springs has repatriated Australians from Wuhan and the infamous Diamond Princess cruise ship. But the resumption of repatriation flights from India will see the facility face its greatest challenge yet.

But many of those left behind in India are still in a state of shock.

Jitin Wig was due to board the plane with his family before both his wife and his toddler tested positive to Covid-19.

He told the ABC his wife and toddler were not experiencing any symptoms but remained deeply worried about how he would find care for them if they fell seriously ill.

“The whole medical system here is a shambles, so if it does get serious here for any of us, I’m not sure how I’d be able to get help,” he said.

“I’m not sure if I’d be able to get any medicines, I’m not sure if I’d be able to get any oxygen, or anything else they might need.”

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