By: Thomas I. Likness
EBC News Service
(Eagle News) — Flights from the Covid-19 hotspots of India and Pakistan will not be allowed to land at Canadian airports, the Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra announced Thursday.
“Effective 11:30 p.m. eastern time tonight, I am suspending all commercial and private passenger flights arriving in Canada from Indian and Pakistan for 30 days,” said Alghabra. “Cargo flights will be allowed to ensure the continued supply of vaccines, PPE and other essential goods.”
“This is a temporary measure while we assess the situation and determine the appropriate measures going forward,” he added.
As well, the minister says passengers who leave India and come to Canada via and indirect route must obtain a negative Covid-19 pre-departure test at their last point of departure.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu says the flight ban is a prudent move.
“There’s a high degree of positive travelers, disproportionately high degrees of positive travelers from India,” said Hajdu. “Given the epidemiological situation in India, it makes sense to pause travel from that region while our scientists and researchers have an ability to better understand this variant of interest, to better understand where the trajectory of the cases in that region is going.”
The so-called double mutation variant, or B.1.617, first identified in India, virus is not on the list of variants of concern in Canada. Health officials term it a variant of interest and are monitoring its spread.
According to Infection Prevention and Control Canada, a new version of a virus is termed a variant of concern when it has been determined it can spread more rapidly, cause more severe symptoms, and may be resistant to immunity from vaccines or previous infection.
Don’t scapegoat identifiable groups
Alghabra told Canadians not to blame any identifiable group.
“We must avoid the risk of falling into the trap of blaming an identifiable group for causing Covid,” he said. “We’ve seen this with Asian Canadians. We must reject scapegoating any group. This virus is not Chinese, nor is it Indian. It affects us all.”
(Eagle News Service)