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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Public opposition to a planned road was expressed on posters on the hiking trails above the Nelson cemetery. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Logging company abandons road construction planned near Nelson hiking trails

RDCK, public, and transportation ministry opposed the road

Stuart Ashley Jones, 56, was at Grand Forks provincial court for sentencing on May 5, 2021. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks man shot by police during peak freshet sentenced to house arrest

Stuart Ashley Jones was shot by a Grand Forks Mountie after ramming two police cruisers in May 2018

The provincial government is funding upgrades to campgrounds in the Slocan Valley. File photo
Slocan Valley campgrounds to receive upgrades

New Denver, Slocan and Silverton have been granted $300,000

COVID-19 cases in B.C. for the week of April 25 to May 1. Illustration: BC Centre for Disease Control
Nelson surpasses 100 COVID-19 cases in 2021

The West Kootenays meanwhile saw numbers drop at the end of April

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
57 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

Thirty people in the region are in hospital, 16 of whom are in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

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

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread continues with 694 new cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

Allayah Yoli Thomas had recently turned 12 years old when she died of a suspected drug overdose April 15. (Courtesy of Adriana Londono)
Suspected overdose death of Vancouver Island 12 year old speaks to lack of supports

Allayah Yoli Thomas was found dead by her friend the morning of April 15

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

B.C. average home price and sales level to 2023, showing steep drop in sales expected next year. (Central 1)
Forecast calls for B.C. home sales to ‘explode,’ then drop off

Average price to rise another 10% in 2021, credit unions say

Two Pileated Woodpeckers sharing the bounty! Kathleen Opal photo
Urban wildlife Part XI: The Kootenay birds (and others) of 2021

The work of photographers in the Kootenay Advertiser throughout 2021. Part XI. With links to Parts I-X

Members of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. (File photo)
B.C.-wide #DayOfMusic to feature 100-plus free virtual concerts May 15

‘Our colleagues across the province have figured out new ways to perform and connect,’ VSO boss says

Two passengers were recently fined thousands of dollars after they faked their pre-flight COVID-19 test results. (Paul Clarke/Black Press)
2 passengers in Canada fined thousands for faking pre-flight COVID-19 tests

The government issued a warning Thursday to others thinking of doing the same – do it and you’ll be ordered to pay

Most Read