Melbourne woman Rupali Jetiley who lost both parents to Covid backs Australia’s India travel ban


A Melbourne woman who lost both her parents to the devastating  Covid wave now ravaging India is backing Australia’s ban on its own citizens returning home from the country.

Rupali Jetiley, who has family in Mumbai, has endorsed Scott Morrison’s controversial policy despite many commentators questioning why no such ban was placed on the US or European nations when they had much higher death rates.  

‘I definitely don’t think it is racist,’ Ms Jetiley told the ABC’s 7.30 program.

‘Yes, I would say that the ban is fair. 

Rupali Jetiley, who has family in Mumbai, has endorsed Scott Morrison's controversial policy after conservative commentator Andrew Bolt accused the Prime Minister of racism

Rupali Jetiley, who has family in Mumbai, has endorsed Scott Morrison’s controversial policy after conservative commentator Andrew Bolt accused the Prime Minister of racism

‘I would 100 per cent support the government, Australian government, because what Australian government is doing is not to punish them, it’s basically saving our country people.’

Ms Jetiley, who has lived in Melbourne for 15 years, lost her mother to Covid only a fortnight ago, with her father dying only a few days later.

Rather than fly to India, the grieving daughter watched the cremation of her parents on videos relatives had sent to her.

India, the world’s second most populated nation after China, is suffering from a humanitarian crisis with 300,000 new daily Covid cases for the past 12 days, taking the total close to 20million.

The government said a temporary ban on arrivals from India – which is due to be lifted on May 15 – was needed because quarantine facilities in Australia were being overwhelmed by positive cases.

Critics have said the government is stripping Australian citizens of their right to enter their own country, and exposing them to danger by forcing them to stay put.

‘We have a sacred duty to protect Australians, the people of Australia,’ New Limited commentator Andrew Bolt said.

Ms Jetiley, who has lived in Melbourne for 15 years, lost her mother to Covid only a fortnight ago, with her father dying only a few days later

Ms Jetiley, who has lived in Melbourne for 15 years, lost her mother to Covid only a fortnight ago, with her father dying only a few days later

India, the world's second most populated nation after China, is suffering from a humanitarian crisis with 300,000 new daily Covid cases for the past 12 days, taking the total close to 20million. Pictured is a cremation in New Delhi

India, the world’s second most populated nation after China, is suffering from a humanitarian crisis with 300,000 new daily Covid cases for the past 12 days, taking the total close to 20million. Pictured is a cremation in New Delhi

‘And for the Indian-Australians stuck in India unable to escape, unable to come home to a decent healthcare system here if they’re ill, I think is a shame on this country.

‘I hate people playing the race card. But even I must now say I am ashamed of Australia, making it a crime for Indian Australians to come back home,’ he said.

Australian citizens returning to India face fines of up to $66,600 and five years’ jail under an emergency midnight declaration by Health Minister Greg Hunt on Saturday.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly wrote a letter to Mr Hunt expressing his ‘grave concern’ for Australians and permanent residents unable to get home.

Despite the risk of returned travellers, Andrew Bolt has slammed the government for banning Australian citizens from coming back from India

Despite the risk of returned travellers, Andrew Bolt has slammed the government for banning Australian citizens from coming back from India

‘These include the risk of serious illness without access to healthcare, the potential for Australians to be stranded in a transit country, and in a worst-case scenario, deaths,’ he wrote in correspondence that will be read in Parliament on Tuesday.

Under the Biosecurity Act of 2015, the federal government can force Australians into mandatory quarantine during a pandemic.

Australian cricketing legend Michael Slater has gone further and accused the PM of having blood on his hands

Australian cricketing legend Michael Slater has gone further and accused the PM of having blood on his hands

Whether Australian citizens can be banned from entering the country is a matter that may have to be tested in the High Court.

While Australians have, since March 2020, been banned from travelling overseas for a short holiday, the federal government didn’t ban Australian citizens from returning directly from the US, UK, Brazil and South Africa when daily case numbers were in the thousands, including with more virulent strains.

However a much lower proportion of people returning to Australia from those countries were found to be carrying the virus. 

Australian cricketing legend Michael Slater has gone further and accused the PM of having blood on his hands.

‘If our Government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home. It’s a disgrace!! Blood on your hands PM,’ Slater, who played 74 tests for Australia, tweeted.

‘How dare you treat us like this. How about you sort out quarantine system. I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect.’

Slater, 51, was working in India as a commentator during the Indian Premier League but has exited the country to wait out the mandatory two weeks in the Maldives.



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