Covid-19: Canada lifts advisory on non-essential travel abroad
The Canadian government has removed its global travel advisory on all non-essential travel outside the country. The caution had been in place since the spring of 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic first spread internationally and into Canada.
That advisory was updated on Thursday even as the Canadian government also announced the launch of a vaccine passport, a standardised certification of being fully vaccinated, to facilitate domestic and international travel.
However, it has retained the stringent requirement for direct flights to India, keeping in place the need to get a negative RT-PCR test result, taken within 18 hours of departure, from a single laboratory based at Delhi airport.
This testing requirement was enforced as the earlier ban on direct passenger flights from India was lifted on September 27. Travellers will still need to provide 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 and “present the test report with a QR code issued by this laboratory to the air operator before boarding”.
“Airlines will refuse boarding to any traveller who’s unable to meet these requirements,” it stressed. These measures have been maintained even as airlines ramp up operations between the two countries with Air Canada announcing a new direct flight from Delhi to Montreal. That city in Quebec will join Toronto and Vancouver with direct flights connecting India and Canada.
“Starting October 31, just in time for Diwali celebrations, Air Canada will offer three flights per week to the growing Indian community in Montreal,” the airline had said. It has also increased the frequency of its flights between Toronto and Delhi to ten per week.
As per the India-specific travel advisory, Canadians have been asked to “exercise a high degree of caution due to the threat of terrorist attacks throughout the country”.
In particular, it warns against all travel to the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir “due to the unpredictable security situation. There is a threat of terrorism, militancy, civil unrest and kidnapping”. That warning excludes the union territory of Ladakh.