COVID-19: Australia announces India travel ban

Australia is banning all flights from India as the country experiences the worst surge in COVID-19 cases since the outbreak began.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said all flights will be suspended immediately until at least May 15. 

"We recognise that this has been a very significant outbreak in India," Morrison said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Morrison has come under pressure to lock down Australia's borders with India amid revelations thousands are still heading overseas despite travel bans.

Perth and Peel went into a snap three-day lockdown following an outbreak in the city's hotel quarantine system.

A 54-year-old man contracted COVID-19 during his stay in quarantine at the Mercure Hotel before roaming the community.

The 54-year-old caught the virus off a man who had returned to Australia after travelling to India to attend his own wedding, The West Australia reported.

Under Australia's travel ban, which came into effect last March, Australians have to apply for an exemption to leave the country.

The man who travelled to India for his wedding was granted an exemption for this trip.

The Prime Minister said repatriation flights would resume as soon as possible and the most vulnerable would be prioritised.

"We don't think the answer is to just forsake those in India and just shut them off," he said.

"We are standing with Australians in India and recognising the difficulties they face."

India has reported 323,000 new infections and 2771 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Experts say that figure could actually be five to 10 times higher. 

The country has so far confirmed more than 186,000 deaths and 16 million cases.

Morrison also added a relief package will be sent from Australia to India, as hospitals are struggling to cope with medical supplies and oxygen.

Australia will send 500 ventilators, 1 million surgical masks and 20,000 face shields.