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

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read