The total travel halt between India and NZ lifted almost two weeks ago, but a lack of commercial flight options has left many stuck in the Covid-ravaged nation.
It’s a situation that has continued to spiral in recent weeks, fuelled by a shortage of oxygen supplies in hospitals.
For the fifth consecutive day, more than 400,000 cases have been identified, with the total number of infections now climbing above 22 million.
NZ citizen Ramandeep Gour, who has been stuck in India since 2019, says the situation is “getting worse.”
“We live in danger every day, like what’s going to happen if something will happen to us? The healthcare system has almost crashed in India.”
Sujatha Selwyn is also stuck.
“There’s a look of fear in everybody’s face,” she said. “Nobody is at peace.”
A new descriptor – very high risk, is being used to describe the situation in India, as well as Brazil, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea.
It restricts travel from those countries to NZ citizens, their partners and children and the parents of children who are citizens.
But even those who fall under the categories are struggling to return, with commercial flight options severely lacking.
It’s lead to calls of repatriation flights, but the Government is yet to come to the table and is instead keeping an eye on the commercial space.
“What if one of us dies here? Would the Government be more happy about the situation?” Gour told 1 NEWS.
“We are also part of your country. Please do something for us, please send us a repat [repatriation] flight so that we can also come and join you guys there.”
University of Melbourne epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely says “the risk is too high from India and Nepal — it needs to fall by about 50 per cent, 75 per cent before I'd be opening that up.”
Australia has organised charter flights to bring stranded Australians home this Saturday.