Canada immigration news: Canada has announced an extension to the ban on direct flights from India, put in place due to COVID-19, but says it is preparing for the return of services.
Transport Canada said Tuesday the ban would be extended until midnight on September 26, 2021.
However, the statement also said three direct flights would be arriving on September 22 to test new measures planned for flights from India once the ban is lifted.
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Those measures are:
- Travellers must have proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test from the approved Genestrings Laboratory at the Delhi airport taken within 18 hours of the scheduled departure of their direct flight to Canada.
- Prior to boarding, air operators will be checking the travellers’ test results ensuring they are eligible to come to Canada, and that fully vaccinated travellers have uploaded their information into the ArriveCAN mobile app or website. Travellers who are unable to meet these requirements will be denied boarding.
Everyone aboard the September 22 flights will be tested for COVID-19 on arrival.
The statement also warned that passengers coming to Canada from India indirectly would still need a negative molecular test obtained within 72 hours of departure from a third country.
Ban On Indian Flights Put In Place When COVID-19 Was Out of Control
When Canada first put a halt to flights from India, that country was struggling with what appeared to be an out-of-control second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patty Hajdu, Canada’s health minister, said in April that Indian citizens then represented 20 percent of international arrivals, but 50 percent of positive tests conducted by airport staff.
“By eliminating direct travel from (India), public health experts will have the time to evaluate the ongoing epidemiology of that region and to reassess the situation,” she said.
While the move has been praised by those grateful for any measures to curb the spread of the variant currently responsible for most of the new cases of COVID-19, others have criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government for what they consider to be an ineffective measure.