Canada has introduced stricter travel restrictions amidst a rise in new Covid-19 variants and cases in the country.
The Canadian government has announced that flights from India and Pakistan will be banned for 30 days from entering Canada to protect Canadian residents and prevent the spread of the new variant of the coronavirus.
However, cargo flights carrying vaccines and other protective equipment will be exempted from the travel ban.
Migrants entering Canada from India or Pakistan via an indirect route will have to obtain a negative Covid-19 test from their last departure point within 72 hours of travelling to Canada, said Canada’s Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.
However, Canada will allow some travellers to enter the country. The list of those exempt from travel restrictions to Canada include:
- Canadian citizens and permanent residents;
- Holders of a Confirmation of Permanent Residence that was issued before March 18, 2020;
- Immediate or extended members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents;
- Individuals travelling to Canada for compassionate reasons;
- International students who will attend a designated learning institution that has a Covid-19 readiness plan;
- Protected persons;
- Temporary foreign workers;
- Transiting passengers.
The new travel restrictions come after a new variant of Covid-19 was discovered in India.
According to Canada’s deputy chief public health officer Dr Howard Njoo, the new strain might be more transmissible, cause more severe health issues, and could render some vaccines less effective.
Canadian provinces and territories are already grappling with a third wave of rising Covid-19 cases, which has prompted stricter lockdown measures throughout the country.
Provinces such as Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have already imposed lockdowns and curfews to prevent social gatherings after Ontario reported more than 3,000 daily cases of positive Covid-19 tests since early April.
While international travel remains closed, Canada is focusing on transitioning its temporary residents into permanent resident status in Canada as part of its drive to invite more than 1.2 million immigrants to the country by 2023.