Restrictions a result of increase in COVID-19 cases being detected among travelers from both countries
Canada on Friday announced it was extending by a month, until June 21, an existing ban on direct passenger flights from India and Pakistan due to a rise in COVID-19 cases being detected among travelers arriving from these countries.
Originally set to expire on May 22, the measure was first announced on April 22. “Our battle against COVID-19 continues,” Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra told a press conference. “On April 22 Transport Canada issued a notice to ban all direct commercial and private passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days based on public health advice to reduce the importation risk of COVID-19 and its variants,” he said. “We are now extending this measures to June 21,” he said, adding that there had been a “significant reduction” in the number of positive COVID-19 cases arriving on international flights to Canada.
However, he cautioned, public health officials believed it was not the right time to loosen any border control measures.
Announcing the restrictions last month, Canadian authorities had claimed that while only 1.8 percent of travelers to the country had tested positive for coronavirus—and India accounted for 20 percent of air travel—more than half of all positive tests at the border were from flights arriving from the country. It had cited similar numbers for Pakistan to justify the ban on the South Asian country.