'A matter of time': Chilling message from Aussies in Covid epicentre

·3-min read

An Australian man and his elderly mother stranded in India are worried it's only a matter of time before they contract coronavirus and say they are living in constant fear for their lives.

On Friday afternoon, the Senate's Covid-19 inquiry heard from Australians desperate to return from India.

Strict limits on the number of people who can return each week have been in place during the health crisis, with a ban currently in place on flights from India.

Patients breath with the help of oxygen masks inside a banquet hall temporarily converted into a Covid-19 coronavirus ward in New Delhi on April 27. Source: Getty
Patients breath with the help of oxygen masks inside a banquet hall temporarily converted into a Covid-19 coronavirus ward in New Delhi on April 27. Source: Getty

Melbourne man Sunny remains stranded in Delhi with his elderly mother.

He travelled to India last May to help care for his father, who died while Sunny was still in quarantine after landing.

Sunny and his mother have been trying to return ever since.

"We stay holed in at the house and fear for our lives on a constant basis," he told the inquiry.

"We think it just a matter of time when we may get infected and get into serious trouble, considering the healthcare system here is overwhelmed and almost dysfunctional.

"People are dying on the streets because of lack of oxygen. The Australian government should not abandon us in this life-threatening situation."

India recorded another grim global world record on Thursday with more than 412,000 new coronavirus cases and almost 4000 deaths.

A person who died of Covid-19 is laid on a pyre at Sarai Kale Khan crematorium on May 6, 2021 in New Delhi, India. Source: Getty
A person who died of Covid-19 is laid on a pyre at Sarai Kale Khan crematorium on May 6, 2021 in New Delhi, India. Source: Getty

Sunny and his mother had a flight booked to return in July last year to Melbourne, which was delayed and then ultimately cancelled because of Victoria's extended lockdown.

They were then meant to return last week but the government announced a ban on flights.

The Morrison government is facing widespread backlash after it threatened jail and fines for people who tried to beat the ban.

Repatriation flights will slowly restart on May 15 but questions remain over when commercial flights will begin.

"Please be compassionate towards the stranded citizens.....Are we supposed to be here for two years, three years, God knows how long".

"This situation needs to be sorted out. Other countries have done it, why can't we?"

Sunny and his mother have been vaccinated against the virus with the help of the Indian government.

Meg, another Australian stranded in India, has not been able to get a jab because she is undergoing chemotherapy.

She has been trying to return to Australia for months, with flights selling out immediately.

Meg says she has been trying to ring the Australian High Commission but the line rings out.

Both Meg and Sunny say they receive most support from online support groups rather than official sources.

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