Comparing US and UK Covid case numbers suggests Australia’s India flight ban based on ‘fear factor’

by Josh Nicholas and Elias Visontay

28 April 2021

Experts say cases in India could be underreported but they believe the numbers are still lower than the spikes seen in other countries in recent months. They also note one variant of interest in India has not yet been deemed as concerning as the UK strain that dominated Britain’s December wave.

Peter Collignon, a professor of infectious diseases at the Australian National University, believes Australia “needs to rethink blanket bans”. He says Canberra is ethically obliged to allow Australians to return from India because they risk contracting the virus in a country where hospital access isn’t guaranteed.

A comparison of infection data has led Mary-Louise McLaws, a professor of epidemiology at the University of New South Wales and a World Health Organization advisor, to argue the government’s ban on flights from India is likely “an act out of fear”.

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