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

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) (File Photo)
Police watchdog investigating after man found dead in South Surrey following a wellness check

IIO says officers ‘reportedly spoke to a man at the home before departing’

Surrey RCMP in the 4900-block of 148th Street, a short road just off of King George Boulevard, on May 15, 2021 after a male was allegedly assaulted with a “pipe-like” weapon that morning. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey RCMP investigating after person reportedly injured with ‘pipe-like’ weapon

Police investigating incident in the 4900-block of 148th Street

The leadership team at Johnston Heights Secondary is looking to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society through the Relay for Life, planned as an online and in-person event (following COVID-19 restrictions) for the week of June 1 to 7.
Pushed back a year, Surrey students well on their way to Relay for Life fundraising goal

Johnston Heights Leadership Team aims to raise $6,500 for Canadian Cancer Society

A detail of White Rock artist Marilyn Dyer's painting New Mountains, one of her works in the show Delineations at Surrey Art Gallery until June 6
White Rock artist Marilyn Dyer featured in SAG show

Dyer and Vancouver sculptor Gailan Ngan team for Delineations exhibit

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his ‘Community Connections’ videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Doug Stone

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Most Read