Australia will resume repatriation flights for Australian nationals in India after May 15, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday.
The resumption will end a travel ban that made it a criminal offense for citizens and residents of Australia to enter the country from India. No other democratic nation has issued a similar ban on all arrivals.
Australians who test positive for the coronavirus will not be allowed to travel, officials said, and the government has introduced a pre-departure testing regime in India in an effort to catch infections before they reach Australia.
Critics of the travel ban have accused the government of racism and insensitivity, but officials have said that the restrictions are necessary to prevent transmission from the devastating outbreak in India.
Australian officials initially said that anyone trying to return from India faced up to five years in prison and nearly 60,000 Australian dollars ($46,300). But as the measure came under withering criticism this week, Mr. Morrison said it was “highly unlikely” that those seeking to return home would actually face jail.