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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Canada plans to lift ban on flights from India next week with new COVID-19 protocols

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OTTAWA — The federal government plans to lift a months-long ban on direct flights from India early next week with enhanced COVID-19 screening protocols in place.

A statement from Transport Canada released Tuesday says the current restrictions, which were set to expire the same day, will be extended until Sept. 26 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

At that point, travellers must have proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test from the approved Genestrings Laboratory at the Delhi airport taken within 18 hours of their departure. They must also upload their vaccination details to the ArriveCAN app or on the website.

“Travellers who are unable to meet these requirements will be denied boarding,” the statement reads.

Those who depart from India to Canada via an indirect route will still be required to obtain a negative molecular test from a third country within 72 hours of their departure.

Transport Canada says as a first step, before the ban lifts, three direct flights from India will arrive Wednesday in Canada and all passengers will be tested for the virus upon arrival “to ensure that the new measures are working.”

Canada imposed the restrictions on direct flights from India on April 22 due to the country’s surge of Delta variant cases.

On Tuesday, India reported 26,964 cases and 383 deaths. Comparatively, on April 22, the country reported 332,921 cases. More than 200 million people there have now been fully vaccinated.

On Sept. 7, Canada began allowing the entry of fully-vaccinated foreign nationals for non-essential travel purposes.

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