Canada lifts ‘pandemic’ ban on flights from India

| | New Delhi
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Canada lifts ‘pandemic’ ban on flights from India

Monday, 27 September 2021 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi

Canada on Sunday lifted the ban on direct passenger flights from India after a gap of more than five months. Air India and Air Canada will be operating direct flights between the two countries.

At the same time, it has cautioned its own citizens in India to avoid travelling to parts of northeastern States, especially Assam and Manipur due to the safety and security situation.

Announcing the decision, Transport Canada on Saturday in a tweet said: “Beginning at 00:01 EDT on September 27, direct flights from India can land in Canada with additional public health measures in place.” That time translates to 9.30 am IST.

“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 the scheduled departure of their direct flight to Canada,” it added.

The passengers will have to “present the test report with a QR code issued by this laboratory to the air operator before boarding”, it said. Those who have previously tested positive for Covid-19 can present a positive molecular test report issued by a certified laboratory in India.

The date of collection must be between 14 and 180 days before their scheduled departure to Canada”, it said. Airlines will refuse boarding to any traveller who’s unable to meet these requirements,” it stressed.

Canada has also advised its citizen to avoid travelling to parts of northeastern States, Jammu and Kashmir and India-Pakistan border areas.  “Avoid all travel to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir due to the unpredictable security situation. There is a threat of terrorism, militancy, civil unrest and kidnapping,” Canada said in its travel advisory. It has cautioned to avoid travel to areas within 10 km of the border with Pakistan due to the unpredictable security situation and presence of landmines and unexploded ordnance.

As per the new traveling norms, passengers who travel from India to Canada via an indirect route still need to provide a pre-departure negative Covid-19 molecular test result from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.

“The Covid-19 testing for passengers in transit might not be available in all international airports or third countries. If you test positive during transit, you may face local quarantine regulations or be returned to your point of departure,” it said.

In April, Canada banned all direct flights to and from India when the second Covid wave hit India. The date of reopening has been postponed many times.

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