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Covid-19: Direct passenger flights from India to Canada may resume on Sept 27

Direct flights from India to Canada may resume on September 27, but there’s a catch. The ongoing flight ban, in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, would be lifted only on the basis of the results of Covid-19 tests conducted on arrival in Canada on passengers travelling from New Delhi on three flights on Wednesday.

As a “first step”, Transport Canada said, all passengers on the three Air Canada flights from New Delhi on Wednesday will be tested for Covid-19 on arrival “to ensure that the new measures are working”.

The India-to-Canada direct flight ban, which expired on September 21, has been extended by Transport Canada until the end of September 26.

If a high number of positive Covid-19 results are found, the planned lifting of the flight ban on September 27 will be reconsidered. “Border and public health measures also remain subject to change as the epidemiological situation evolves,” Transport Canada said.

Canada had banned direct flights from India in April as the Delta-driven second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic raged across the country.

Also, there are additional conditions that will have to be fulfilled by travellers from India once the flight ban is lifted. Passengers will have to take a molecular test for Covid-19 from the Canada-approved Genestrings lab at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, and will only be allowed to board if the result is negative.

That test will have to be taken “within 18 hours of the scheduled departure of their direct flight to Canada”.

Covid-19 tests from any other lab in India will not be recognised for travel to Canada.

“We continue to remain engaged with our Canadian partners and to emphasise the importance of early resumption of normal air mobility,” India’s high commissioner to Ottawa, Ajay Bisaria, told HT.

Meanwhile, rules for travellers from India via a third country remain the same. They will have to obtain a valid negative test result conducted within 72 hours of boarding a flight headed for a Canadian destination at the place of departure.

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