Canada on Thursday said it is banning all flights from India and Pakistan for one month due to the growing wave of COVID-19 cases in that region.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the ban would begin late on Thursday, speaking hours after India reported a global record of more than 3,14,000 new infections in the previous 24-hours. Cargo flights from India and Pakistan will continue.
Canadian Health Minister Patty Hajdu said that while Indian citizens accounted for 20 percent of all international arrivals, they represented over 50 percent of the positive tests conducted by Canadian airport officials.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu said half the people who are testing positive for the coronavirus after arriving in Canada by airplane came from India. Flights from India account for about one-fifth of the country's air traffic.
There are also a disproportionately higher number of positive cases among those traveling on flights from Pakistan, she said. “It makes sense to pause travel from that region while our scientists and researchers better understand the variants of interest," Ms. Hajdu said.
There are more than 10 lakh people who live in Canada who have Indian descent. There are 1,00,000 Canadians who have Pakistani ancestry.
In addition, France is imposing a 10-day quarantine for travelers from Brazil, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and India, while the UAE has suspended all flights from India.