Ottawa: Canada has said it would temporarily ban passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days from Thursday amid rising coronavirus cases in the two countries.
At a virtual press conference on Thursday, Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said that because an increasing number of travellers from both countries have been arriving in Canada with COVID-19, all commercial and private passenger flights from those countries will be barred as of 11:30 pm tonight (Thursday), Canada’s CBC reported.
Cargo flights will still be permitted in order to maintain shipments of essential supplies, such as vaccines and personal protective equipment, he said.
Alghabra said air passengers who depart from India or Pakistan but arrive in Canada via a third country will need to produce a negative result on a COVID-19 test taken at their last point of departure before being allowed to enter Canada.
“As we’ve seen with our third wave, the COVID-19 pandemic can change rapidly,” said Alghabra. “New variants can spread even faster than before and our health system is feeling even more pressure than ever before.”
India is witnessing an unprecedented COVID-19 situation. The country reported 3,32,730 cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday. There were 2,263 deaths counted on the same day, another record for India.
Pakistan is also reeling under the third wave of coronavirus. The country has reported over 7,78,000 coronavirus cases so far and the death toll stands at 16,698.
The UAE, on the other hand, has banned travel from India for 10 days from Sunday. Passengers who have transited through India in the last 14 days are also not permitted to board from any other point to the UAE, the Gulf News reported.
Recently, the United Kingdom added India to its travel “red list” on a precautionary basis after reporting 103 cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in India.
The Russian Embassy’s visa section temporarily cease its operations until further notice due to India’s COVID-19 situation, it announced on Monday.
As COVID-19 cases soar, the United States has also issued a ‘Level 4 (Very High)’ warning for potential travellers to India asking them to “avoid all travel” to the country even if they are fully vaccinated.
Hong Kong on Tuesday announced the suspension of all flights connecting with India for 14 days amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the region. The authorities have also suspended flights from Pakistan and the Philippines.