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  • Australia is considering sending help for India

    Author: AAP

Australia is considering sending oxygen and other medical supplies to India, which is in the grips of a devastating coronavirus crisis.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews says the federal government has an obligation to support the 8000 Australians stranded in India, which is suffering a coronavirus catastrophe.

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The national security committee is meeting on Tuesday to discuss the devastating outbreak, with India setting consecutive world records for daily cases.

Australia is considering sending supplies of oxygen and ventilators, and could also impose harsher inbound travel restrictions.

Ms Andrews, who sits on the committee, said the meeting would consider how to help Australians in India trying to return.

"Our primary responsibility is to keep Australians safe and secure, so that is our overarching responsibility," she told Nine.

"We do have obligations though to make sure that we can support Australians to come back home."

Ms Andrews said any decisions on further travel restrictions would be based on medical advice.

"Clearly the situation in India is absolutely devastating. Hundreds of thousands of new cases each day, multiple deaths. It's just an awful situation," she said.

"I'm sure that there will be a broad range of discussions today about what the future action may need to be."

Last week, the government cut repatriation and direct flight arrivals from India by 30 per cent.

Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed stopping all flights from India could be an option if health authorities advised the move was necessary.

"If those additional measures are recommended, we will take them with the heaviest of hearts but without any hesitation," he said.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the situation in India was desperate.

"They are our good friends, we should be assisting in whatever way we can," he told ABC radio.

"A breakout of this virus in one part of the world is a breakout everywhere."

Mr Albanese said the crisis also highlighted the need to establish dedicated quarantine facilities with open air for returning travellers.

"The Commonwealth needs to get quarantine right," he said.

"We know the issue of housing people in CBD hotels doesn't make sense compared with making sure appropriate facilities are put in place."

Meanwhile, West Australians have emerged from a three-day snap lockdown but some restrictions remain in place.

The outbreak scare has been pinned on a man who returned from India after travelling to get married.

The federal government insists tighter rules around who can travel to the disease-stricken country mean a similar exemption would no longer be granted.

Ms Andrews said the man's travel was approved months ago under the old criteria, which has since been dramatically tightened.

"A wedding would be very unlikely to be approved," she said.

Australia's vaccine rollout is set to come under further scrutiny with Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly and Health Department boss Brendan Murphy to face a Senate committee.

The inquiry will also hear from Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid and medicines regulator head John Skerritt.

More than 1.93 million vaccine doses have been administered nationally, with Anzac Day public holidays in some parts of the country expected to hamper Monday's rate.

Slightly more than 3400 shots were administered on Sunday.


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