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'Adventure of a life time,' says Aussie-Indian man returning after months

Kalam Vamshi was stuck in India for months before returning to Australia in the last week of May. Source: Supplied

It was an 'adventure of a life time' For Kalam Vamshi, who has returned from India after almost three months.

Kalam Vamshi, a permanent resident of Australia, has not seen his family for over three months. He is in quarantine in a hotel in Melbourne after returning from India and has been waiting for his ‘adventure of the lifetime’ to be over.


Highlights:

  • Kalam Vamshi was stuck in India due to lockdown like thousands of other Australians.

  • More than 5000 people have returned in the recent weeks.

  • India has extended a ban on international flights.


 ‘It was like an adventure,’ says Vamshi.

Listen to this complete interview:

 

'Adventure of a life time,' says Aussie-Indian man returning after months
00:00 00:00

“Getting a ticket itself is a big adventure and then travelling to the place from where the flights are supposed to be boarded is an adventure and then coming to quarantine again going to be like an adventure.

“The last three months I was not sure when I would be able to see my wife and I was also worried that my mum would not be healthy,” says Vamshi adding that he is very thankful to the Australian High Commission in India for arranging flights to bring him and others back.

Airport
Supplied

Kalam Vamshi had flown to India to visit his mother in the first week of March. However, India and Australia closed their borders in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic, and like thousands of Australians, Vamshi could not return.

He was stuck in Hyderabad and started mobilising people who were not able to return. Finally, the Australian High Commission arranged flights from India to Australia, and many have returned since then.

However, Kalam Vamshi is worried about hundreds of other Australians who are still in India waiting for flights to come back. Vamshi says they are having a challenging time.

lockdown
Supplied

He says frustration among them is rising.

“People are panicking now because numbers (of Coronavirus cases) in India are increasing. They don’t want to risk their lives. They don’t want to lose their jobs. What if all of a sudden India decides to do lockdown again?” says Vamshi, emphasising that the authorities should arrange more flights as soon as possible.

According to the Australian High Commission in India, more than 5,600 people have returned from India and another 400 are leaving this week from Chennai.

“We’ve been working over the weekend to get Australians safely home, looking forward to two successful flights on Friday,” the Australian Consulate in Chennai tweeted.

Meanwhile, India has extended the ban on international flights until further notice. 

Kalam Vamshi is back in Melbourne and is in quarantine.
Kalam Vamshi is back in Melbourne and is in quarantine.
Supplied

In its latest travel advisory, the Indian government has announced all international flights will remain banned till June 30, 2020.

The authorities have said the airlines will be informed in ‘due course’.

“It is reiterated that foreign airlines shall be suitably informed about the opening of their operations whether international to/from India in due course,” the official statement said.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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