Direct flights from India resume as Canada lifts COVID ban

Direct passenger flights to Canada from India resumed on Monday when Transport Canada lifted a months-long ban imposed due to the high COVID-19 case count.

In a post on Twitter, Transport Canada said that direct flights from India can land in Canada, but travelers must have a negative COVID-19 test from an approved laboratory at New Delhi airport no more than 18 hours before their departure. .

“As of 12:01 EDT on September 27, direct flights from India can land in Canada with additional public health measures,” the department said.

“Travelers must have proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test from the Genestrings Laboratory approved at the Delhi airport taken within 18 hours of the scheduled departure of their direct flight to Canada.”

Air Canada flight data shows that a direct flight from Delhi landed at Toronto International Airport early Monday morning.

But a family’s trip raises questions about whether the direct flight ban had the desired impact.

Hari Gopal Garg and his wife Komal Garg traveled from Toronto to India to adopt a girl, Kaveri, and were scheduled to return to Canada on April 25, three days after direct flights were banned.

The family decided to take a long trip home, traveling through two other countries, so that Garg could go back to work and resume their lives, he said.

Garg and his family began their journey on June 8, traveling from India to Paris to Mexico, before landing in Canada six days later. His trip included a three-day stay in Mexico and COVID-19 testing at each stop.

“We were very nervous,” he said Monday.

“You are contacting so many people along the way. You are changing flight. You stay in hotels. It is as if the government has created more ways to spread COVID. Otherwise, it could come straight away without having so many points of contact. “

Transport Canada said airlines would verify travelers’ # COVID19 test results and confirm that fully vaccinated passengers had uploaded their information to the ArriveCAN website or mobile app.

The family spent around $ 6,000 on the trip, including hotel stays. Otherwise, the trip would have cost them about $ 2,000.

“I don’t think the flight ban has helped at all,” Garg said.

“It created more problems for people who were genuinely traveling and had a valid reason. It created more problems, more money spent, and more mental stress. So, it didn’t solve any purpose. “

But Garg said he is happy that flights between the countries have resumed because there are a number of older people and families with children who may not have been able to make the long and expensive trip to Canada.

“I just hope that the government will make some rational decisions in the future without hidden political agendas,” Garg said.

“Think about the people who are hurting because of this and then make some wise decisions.”

Transport Canada announced in a press release last week an extension of the ban on all direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India until Sunday.

The department said that after the end of the ban, airlines would verify travelers’ COVID-19 test results and confirm that fully vaccinated passengers had uploaded their information to the ArriveCAN website or mobile app.

Travelers arriving in Canada from India via an indirect route must obtain, within 72 hours of departure, a negative COVID-19 molecular test from a third country, other than India, before continuing their journey to Canada .

This Canadian Press report was first published on September 27, 2021.

This story was produced with financial assistance from Facebook and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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