More than 40 Australians booked on an evacuation flight out of New Delhi have tested positive for COVID-19.

Northern Territory Health officials confirmed that another 30 people had been deemed as close contacts and could no longer fly.

The plane had 150 Australians booked.

The government’s India travel ban expires at midnight on Friday and the flight was due to leave New Delhi on Friday night and arrive in Darwin on Saturday morning.

The positive coronavirus results mean that roughly half of the people booked on the flight can no longer board.

Executive director for the Centre of National Resilience Gabrielle Brown said the Commonwealth government’s decision to overturn its travel ban and help fly Aussies home from the subcontinent was a “humanitarian effort”.

“The Northern Territory is in such a good position with no community transmission since the beginning of COVID, means that we have been able to accept this responsibility,” she told reporters on Friday afternoon.

“The importance of our role in infection control and in running quarantine as safely as possible for those residents coming into quarantine for our staff, and also for the broader Northern Territory community is not all lost on me, and it’s absolutely not lost on … the Centre of National Resilience.”

More to come.

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