Canada extends ban on direct passenger flights from India until September 21
Canada has, for the fifth time now, extended its ban on direct commercial and private flights from India until at least September 21 due to concerns over the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus.
The prohibition was scheduled to expire on August 21, making the latest move the fifth extension of the ban since it was first imposed on April 22 - at that time due to fears in Canada over the devastating second wave of the pandemic in India.
The latest extension of the ban was announced by Transport Canada just as entry for fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents was relaxed on Monday, despite America currently recording over 100,000 new daily coronavirus cases.
Transport Canada said the decision on travel from India was based “on the latest public health advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada”.
It said the Canadian government “continues to closely monitor the epidemiological situation, and will be working closely with the government of India and aviation operators to ensure appropriate procedures are put in place to enable a safe return of direct flights as soon as conditions permit”.
Transport Canada also extended the requirement related to third-country pre-departure Covid-19 molecular tests for travellers to Canada from India via an indirect route.
“This means passengers who depart India for Canada via an indirect route will continue to be required to obtain a valid Covid-19 pre-departure test from a third country - other than India - before continuing their journey to Canada,” Transport Canada said.
On the other hand, Canada is introducing a slew of measures relaxing travel restrictions to the country. On September 7, if the situation remains under control, Canada has decided it will open its borders to travellers who are fully vaccinated with Ottawa-approved anti-Covid shots at least 14 days before entering Canada and those who meet all the entry requirements.
As of Monday, fully vaccinated travellers to Canada do not require a post-arrival test, while those not fully vaccinated, unvaccinated or vaccinated with jabs not recognised by Canadian health authorities, will be tested upon arrival.
It also eliminated its mandatory three-day quarantine requirement at a designated hotel while awaiting results of the test.
Vaccinated travellers will be exempted from any requirement for quarantine, but others will have to provide a quarantine plan.
The vaccines authorised for emergency use in Canada are those made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca – marketed in India as Covishield – and Johnson & Johnson.