Set to expire Tuesday, Ottawa’s ban on direct flights from India will be extended for another month.
Announced Monday morning in a press conference by federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, Canada’s ban on passenger flights from india will be extended another month while flights from Pakistan are set to resume.
Enacted April 22 to address a spike of passengers infected with what’s now known as the Delta variant of COVID-19, the measure drastically cut the number of cases entering Canada via international travel.
The ban also included additional restrictions on travellers arriving via connecting flights, including negative PCR COVID-19 tests administered at the last port of entry before entering Canada — a nearly impossible feat for a laboratory test with a 24-48 hour turnaround time.
As many travellers from India had been connecting through Middle Eastern airports like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha, infected passengers on those flights likewise saw big drops — just four from the United Arab Emirates last month compared to 35 in April.
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Initially meant to last 30 days, April’s flight ban was extended in May for another 30 days.
During the first part of the pandemic, India typically only saw a handful of infected flights landing at Canadian airports each month.
All that changed in mid-February with a spike of infected flights coinciding with that country’s devastating variant-fuelled second wave — with infected passengers reported on nearly all of the four daily non-stop flights between Delhi and Canada.
Pakistan, meanwhile, has never been a significant factor, with Health Canada only reporting five such flights in April.