The decision by the Australian government to threaten its citizens returning from India with prison time and huge fans in a bid to avoid an outbreak of COVID-19 has been called racist and discriminatory as well as ignoring the human rights of its own nationals.
From earlier today Canberra passed a controversial new ruling that any Australian passport holder returning from any location on the subcontinent faces a maximum prison sentence of five years in prison and heavy fines.
The ruling will remain in force until mid-May, and the claims of racism by people around the world have already been dismissed by Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.
Speaking to a radio station in Sydney, Mr. Morrison said “(T)he same accusations were made against the government over a year ago when we closed the borders to mainland China,” he told Sydney radio station 2GB” adding “(T)here’s no politics or ideology in a pandemic… It’s got nothing to do with politics, this is a virus.”
In response to the ruling, the nation’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne told the media that arrivals from India represented over 50% of all positive coronavirus cases currently being held in quarantine.
Just over a month ago this figure stood at 10%.
The increase she said added a “very, very significant burden on health and medical services” in Australia.