Canada extends ban on flights from India to Aug. 21 due to Delta variant fears

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Canada is extending its ban on incoming passenger flights from India for another month, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced Monday.

The ban — which was first put in place on April 22 due to the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant in the country — is now scheduled to end on Aug. 21. It was scheduled to end on Wednesday.

Alghabra told reporters during a news conference that the reason for the extension was due to the Delta variant, which is considered the dominant strain of COVID-19 worldwide, according to some experts.

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“While progress is being made, the situation in India is still very serious,” he said. “The decision is based on the advice received from the Public Health Agency of Canada, and will best protect Canadians from an increased introduction of the Delta variant, which is prevalent in India.”

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Transport Canada has also extended the requirement regarding travel to Canada from India through another country. Any passengers who use this method must continue to get a COVID-19 test from a country other than India before continuing their journey to Canada.

On Monday, India reported 38,164 new COVID-19 cases and 499 deaths, the lowest in over three months. To date, India has seen 31,144,229 cases of COVID-19 and 414,108 deaths, Johns Hopkins University reports.

Also on Monday, the Canadian government announced that fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents who want to come to Canada for non-essential reasons can do so starting on Aug. 9.

When that day comes, American travellers who are fully vaccinated won’t have to quarantine upon arrival, and the government-approved hotel quarantine program will also be axed.

They will, however, be subject to COVID-19 testing and will be required to provide proof of vaccination by way of the ArriveCAN smartphone app or web portal. Post-travel test results will no longer be necessary.

Fully vaccinated travellers from other places in the world will be allowed to enter as of Sept. 7.

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–With files from Global News’ Amanda Connolly and Reuters

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