Canada

Canada resuming passenger flights from India

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Canada’s first direct flight from India since April landed in Toronto Wednesday morning, the first since spiking COVID-19 cases prompted their ban earlier this year.

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Air Canada flight 43 from Delhi touched down at Toronto Pearson just before 5:30 a.m., just hours after Transport Canada announced intentions to lift the direct flight ban this week.

“Canada continues to take a risk-based and measured approach to re-opening the border while prioritizing the health and safety of everyone in Canada,” read Tuesday’s news release from Transport Canada.

In April, Canada issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) banning all direct passenger flights from India in response to spiking COVID cases on the four daily direct flights from Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi.

While Canada extended the NOTAM until Sunday, Transport Canada said three flights departed India on Wednesday for Canadian airports, and their passengers will be tested to obsensibly gauge the effectiveness of new measures.

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These measures include requiring passengers to possess a negative COVID test administered at a provider within the Delhi airport at least 18 hours prior to departure, and that operators ensure nobody boards a Canada-bound plane without being fully vaccinated. Passengers must also ensure their vaccine status is up-to-date on the ArriveCAN mobile app.

Those travelling to Canada via indirect flights are still required to obtain a negative COVID test at a lab outside of India prior to departing for Canada.

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India’s variant-fuelled second wave of COVID-19 coincided with the spike of cases arriving on international flights, with nearly every flight in April carrying infected passengers.

In December, Canada temporarily banned passenger flights from the U.K. in response to cases of what was formerly referred to as the ‘U.K. variant’ of COVID-19, followed by a suspension of flights servicing popular sun destinations on Jan. 29 and mandatory COVID-19 testing and hotel quarantines for arriving international passengers.

A similar ban was issued for passenger flights from Morocco in August, which is set to expire next Wednesday.

August saw Canada’s highest-ever month for infected international flights, with the Toronto Sun recording 783 such flights based on data published by Health Canada.

As of Wednesday, 104 international flights landed in Canada so far in September, carrying passengers who tested positive for COVID-19.

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On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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