OTTAWA – The federal government is suspending incoming passenger flights from India and Pakistan for the next month as cases of COVID-19 surge in both countries.
There are additional steps coming to prevent people from travelling to Canada from India and Pakistan via other countries.
At least 32 flights from Delhi and two from Pakistan have landed in Canada in the last two weeks carrying dozens of passengers who later tested positive for COVID-19.
That includes 32 flights from India, 20 from the United States, and 10 each from France and the United Arab Emirates.
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said at a briefing this afternoon that ministers were looking at data about incoming flights, testing and variants of concern, including metrics that show an increase in cases coming in on flights from India.
B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reacted to the news in a media briefing Thursday.
“It is a very difficult time right now in India and our heart goes out to that country and family here who have family members and friends and realtives going through what is happening in India right now,” she said.
“We are very supportive of the federal government stopping flights coming into Canada right now. We’ve seen this when we had increased rates in the U.K. when we needed to take a break and ensure that we had an understanding of what was going on.”
She said while it was a good move, it was with a “heavy heart” because of the families in Canada affected by the flight bans.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2021.