Passengers from Air India flight 187 from New Delhi wait for their transportation to quarantine after arriving at Pearson Airport in Toronto on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Passengers from Air India flight 187 from New Delhi wait for their transportation to quarantine after arriving at Pearson Airport in Toronto on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Canada eyes policy on travel from India due to massive COVID surge

India recorded nearly 300,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, with 2,000 more deaths linked to the virus

The federal government is looking into flights arriving from India due to a massive surge of COVID-19 cases ravaging that country, Canada’s top public health doctor said Wednesday as at least one province urged Ottawa to tighten the border.

The government generally believes that limiting travel from specific countries can only go so far, said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, but India may present a special case.

“We will be doing further analysis because it’s an emerging situation, not just because of the variant of interest at this point but because they have unfortunately a very massive resurgence in that country,” she said. “We will be doing that risk assessment again, and using the data that we have now collected at the border to inform our next steps.”

A case involving the “variant of interest” that originated in India — known as the B. 1.617 variant — was detected in Quebec on Wednesday, west of the provincial capital.

But rather than banning travel from nations where variants have emerged, Tam said Canada has mostly opted to take a broader approach, instituting “layers of protection” against travellers from all countries.

She pointed to a pre-boarding test for COVID-19, tests on arrival and government-mandated quarantine.

Calls are mounting for Ottawa to limit travel from India and other such hot spots.

India recorded nearly 300,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday alone, with 2,000 more deaths linked to the virus.

Hospitals in India are now overflowing, and medical oxygen is in low supply. The effort to test and vaccinate residents is floundering, and bodies are piling up at morgues and crematoriums.

But even so, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is urging states to avoid lockdowns by creating micro-containment zones to control outbreaks instead.

According to the Canadian government, there have been 35 flights from India with at least one case of COVID-19 that have arrived in Canada in the last two weeks.

Ontario’s government, for one, is “pleading” with Ottawa to ban travel from India.

The provincial government says cases of COVID-19 are pouring in through international borders.

House leader Paul Calandra said it’s critical that the federal Liberals act now to prevent more variants from infiltrating Canada.

“I am pleading with the prime minister to secure our borders so that we can get control of these international variants,” he said.

Canada has limited travel from some countries over the course of the pandemic.

In late December, the government barred flights arriving from the U.K. in a bid to prevent a contagious variant of COVID-19 that first emerged there from entering this country.

The ban lasted until early January, and ultimately, the B.1.1.7 variant took hold in Canada.

As of Tuesday, the federal government was reporting 67,417 cases of COVID-19 involving that variant.

VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

– with files from The Associated Press.

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Air TravelCoronavirusIndia

Just Posted

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens after accident at Taylor River Flats

Multi-vehicle crash had closed highway to west coast

Grade 12 graduates Jada Touchie, Timothy Masso and Brendan Brown are all smiles after receiving their Goodies for the Grads gift packs thanks to a small neighbourhood grant from the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet Secondary School grads set to parade through town

Family and friends can cheer on the Class of 2021 this Saturday, June 19 at 4:30 p.m.

From left, Ahousaht First Nation Hereditary Chief Richard George presents a $10,000 cheque to Tofino Hatchery manager Doug Palfrey alongside Tyler Huebner of TCH Contracting The funds will go towards rebuilding Cypre river Chinook. (Carallyn Bowes photo)
Tofino Hatchery receives $10K donation

Tofino Salmon Enhancement Society tackling massive drop in Chinook salmon stocks

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

This rendering shows the potential layout for a 40-unit staff housing cooperative being proposed by the Pac Rim Home Development Cooperative in Ucluelet. (Image from www.prhdc.ca)
Pac Rim Cooperative pitches staff housing project in Ucluelet

“We’re looking at it as if it’s like a resort for employees”

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Most Read