OTTAWA — The federal government is banning flights from India and Pakistan, effective tonight, for at least 30 days as Canada fights the third wave of COVID-19.
The new measures were announced in a late afternoon briefing with Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic Leblanc, Health Minister Patty Hajdu and more.
The flight ban from India and Pakistan takes effect tonight, April 22, 2021 at 11:30 p.m. The ban will be in place for at least 30 days and applies to all passenger and commercial flights into Canada from India and Pakistan.
Asked about flights from Brazil, Minister Alghabra said there are currently no flights from Brazil. “But we will not hesitate to ban flights from other countries,” he said.
“Border restrictions can change at any time. You can be stuck in another country,” said Minister Alghabra.
BANS FUELLED BY COVID-19 VARIANTS OF CONCERN
The question of more travel restrictions has been a hot button political issue especially over the past 48 hours after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked on Tuesday about a potential flight ban on destinations including India, which is battling soaring COVID-19 case counts.
At the April 20 briefing it was clear that the possibility of more measures is always on the table as Canada fights the third wave of COVID-19. At that briefing Trudeau announced an extension of Canada’s current travel restrictions, including the closure of the Canada-U.S. border, and for international travellers, the 14-day quarantine including the 3-night hotel quarantine, until at least May 21.
Today several of the ministers, like Trudeau earlier this week, outlined Canada’s long list of travel restrictions already in place, and the very low rate of transmission linked to international travel.
“Canada currently has some of the strongest restrictions in the world,” said Minister Alghabra.
The new measures announced today are “due to the continued spread of COVID-19’s variants of concern.”
Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announces that Canada is suspending commercial and private passenger flights arriving in Canada from Pakistan and India for 30 days, effective tonight at 11:30, due to concerns over COVID-19 variants.#cdnpoli | #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/CZRCY8HZAV
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) April 22, 2021