Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday denied the country's ban on arrivals from India is racist and played down the chance anyone caught breaking the rule will face prison time.
Starting Monday, no one -- including Australian citizens -- is allowed to enter the country if they have been in India for any of the 14 days prior to their arrival.
Anyone caught violating the rule could face a fine of up to $51,000 and five-year prison sentence.
Morrison told local media on Monday that "no one has been jailed" for such violations during the pandemic and vowed the government will use its powers "responsibly" to block arrivals from India.
While Australia has halted direct flights from certain countries through the pandemic, it is the first time the government has made it illegal for Australians to return home. Asked about allegations the travel ban on India was racist, Morrison said the decision had been taken "in the best health interests of Australia."
Morrison said his government would review the decision this week, after initially stating the ban will run at least through May 15.
Around 9,000 Australians in India are registered with the government as wanting to return to Australia.