Baljinder Kaur worried for family back home in northern India as COVID-19 crisis worsens and Australia stops passenger flights

ESCAPED: Baljinder Kaur with her children Ravneet, 11, Asees, 5 and Harpal Singh, 3 at their home at Munruben.
ESCAPED: Baljinder Kaur with her children Ravneet, 11, Asees, 5 and Harpal Singh, 3 at their home at Munruben.

A MUNRUBEN woman said she was relieved to escape India's worsening COVID-19 crisis and was worried for family back home as the death toll and infection rate grew.

Baljinder Kaur, who secured Australian citizenship this year with daughter Ravneet, is concerned about the state of her homeland as virus cases soar, with deaths passing 200,000.

COVID-19 infections in the country have since skyrocketed to sit at a seven-day average of 330,000 as of Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison suspended passenger flights to and from India this week, until at least May 15.

Australia was set to send relief, including 500 ventilators, 1 million surgical masks, 500,000 sets of PPE, 100,000 goggles, 100,000 pairs of gloves and 20,000 face shields, to India.

Mr Morrison said it was a terrible humanitarian crisis.

Baljinder said felt lucky to have escaped last March, when she returned home with two of her three children for a wedding in northern India.

A two-week trip with Asees, 5, and Harpal Singh, 3, turned into a two-month stay when the crisis hit.

The three stayed in one building with extended family, confined for hours at a time.

She said she felt for her children.

"It is not like here, with unlimited internet," Baljinder said.

"They could not walk anywhere. Everyone was in one place, everyone was trapped."

Everyone was in one place, everyone was trapped

Baljinder Kaur

Shops opened occasionally, Baljinder said, and food was scarce.

"It felt like a big crime," she said.

"Everyone was hiding from each other, and everyone was hiding from the police."

Flights were hard to get, but eventually, the family secured tickets back to Australia.

The trio got on a chartered flight to Sydney, before spending 14 days in quarantine and returning to Brisbane.

She is relieved to be away from the crisis, but worried for friends, family and her country.

"I'm worried about everything over there," she said.

"The system - the health system and the political system," is no good over there.

"We can't go and see them if something happens.

"But it is everywhere, it is not just there. Life is not normal."

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