April saw the number of international arrivals to Canada by land and air increase from the previous year but remain historically low. (iStock)

Canada suspends flights from India, Pakistan

The Canadian government has suspended all passenger flights coming in from India and Pakistan for one month. Health Canada found that more than one hundred flights that landed in Canada since April 7 had at least one passenger infected with COVID-19. Two of the passengers came from Lahore, Pakistan and 32 from Delhi, India. Census figures from 2016 showed there were close to two million people of South Asian heritage living in Canada and frequent flights to accommodate family and business travel.

A new variant is sweeping India and hospitals are having trouble getting enough oxygen for patients. There has already been one case of that variant reported in the province of Quebec and 40 cases in British Columbia. Opposition Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole had said that Canada should stop flights arriving from countries like India and Brazil which he characterized as “hot spots.”

The premier of the province of Quebec and the premier of Ontario had written to the federal government asking that border restrictions be tightened at airports and at land border crossings. They expressed concern about possible falsified COVID-19 test results and people opting to pay fines rather than follow the rules. Other premiers have called for tougher border restrictions as well.

For now, travellers arriving in Canada must quarantine for 14 days but can do it at home. (iStock)

Currently, travellers arriving  in Canada must quarantine for 14 days even if they test negative for COVID-19, have had the disease or have been vaccinated. Those arriving by air must have booked a three-day quarantine at a government-approved hotel at their own expense. Upon arrival, they must undergo a test for the disease. If the test is negative, they are allowed to go home to complete their quarantine but they must test themselves again on day 10. 

Those arriving by land or water must quarantine for 14 days but may go home to do so. They must take a test on arrival and another on day 10. 

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