Canada’s ban on flights from India has been extended by an additional 30 days to Monday 21st June 2021. The decision was affirmed by Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra by way of responding to the continuous surge in cases of the Indian Variant (B.1.617) of COVID-19 in Canada. The travel ban was first enforced on Thursday 22nd April and was due to be lifted on Saturday 22nd May. However, on Friday 21st May, the date was extended, leading Canada to ban all commercial and private passenger flights arriving in Canada from India.
Prior to the travel ban, Air Canada and Air India were operating daily flights between Canada (Toronto and Vancouver) and India (New Delhi), but now these activities are no more. Additionally, Pakistan has also been added to Canada’s travel ban list of countries. Omar Alghabra said on Twitter, “Temporary flight restrictions on India and Pakistan have significantly reduced the risk of importing cases and new variants. We are extending these temporary measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians”.
Caution & Compliance – The Mantra
Canada has implemented additional safety precautions to guard against the rise in COVID-19 cases by requiring passengers arriving from India via an indirect route to provide a negative PCR test at the destination of their connecting flight to Canada.
The Canadian Aviation Transport Ministry in a statement said, “These measures will help manage the elevated risk of imported cases of COVID-19 and variants of concern into Canada during a time of increasing pressure on our health care system.”
Furthermore, Dr. Howard Njoo, the Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, stated that approximately 70% of new COVID-19 cases in the country are from Variants of Concern; as such, he firmly supports the extension of travel restrictions. He says, “It’s important to have these measures in place, and [that] we recognise that although importation of variants is a small part of what’s happening with respect to the situation in Canada, anything we can do in terms of that added layer is important at this time.”
What are your thoughts on Canada’s actions against India and its contagious variant? Let us know in the comments below.