Covid-19: Canada to relax testing norms to ease travel from India | World News - Hindustan Times
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Covid-19: Canada to relax testing norms to ease travel from India

ByAnirudh Bhattacharyya I Edited by Amit Chanda
Jan 27, 2022 12:30 PM IST

According to sources, the Canadian government is likely to update its rules allowing for RT-PCR testing of air passengers from India to be permitted at several laboratories recognised by the Indian Council for Medical Research.

Travel between India and Canada is likely to become easier soon as Ottawa is likely to relax restrictions related to Covid-19 testing that made the process cumbersome.

Travelers at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Canadian government is likely to update its rules allowing for RT-PCR testing of air passengers from India to be permitted at several laboratories recognised by the Indian Council for Medical Research. (Bloomberg)
Travelers at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Canadian government is likely to update its rules allowing for RT-PCR testing of air passengers from India to be permitted at several laboratories recognised by the Indian Council for Medical Research. (Bloomberg)

According to sources, the Canadian government is likely to update its rules allowing for RT-PCR testing of air passengers from India to be permitted at several laboratories recognised by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).

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At this time, the travel advisory for India that is in force, limits pre-departure testing to a single laboratory of the company Genestrings located at Delhi airport. Travellers have to provide a negative test result before they are allowed boarding for any Canadian destination, making the process problematic to those connecting via Delhi as getting the test taken and results received consume up to eight or nine hours. As of now, that test has to be done within 18 hours of scheduled departure.

Another relaxation that’s expected is that of the mandatory requirement for travellers from India to be tested at a third country in case they are catching a connecting flight to come to Canada. The present norms read: “Passengers who travel from India to Canada via an indirect route still need to provide a pre-departure negative Covid-19 molecular test result from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.”

A test conducted in India is likely to be accepted for onward journey to Canada from a third country once the expected announcement is made. Sources said that announcement could come as early as this week.

However, Canada still has in place a warning against any non-essential travel abroad due to concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. That, though, is relevant to those departing Canada rather than incoming passengers.

The testing norms specific to India were introduced in September when Canada lifted its ban on direct flights between the two countries, which was imposed in April last year amid concerns over the Delta-driven wave in India.

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