Healthcare workers prepare to test passengers before they arrive at Toronto's Pearson airport in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada February 15, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Canada extends ban on passenger flights from Pakistan, India

Ban on Indian and Pakistani flights is part of a series of restrictions Canada imposed to lower transmission of virus

Reuters May 21, 2021

Canada has extended its ban on passenger flights from Pakistan and India by 30 days to June 21 as part of a campaign to fight Covid-19, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said on Friday.

Alghabra said Canada had seen "a significant reduction" in coronavirus infections among arriving airline passengers since Ottawa first announced the bans on April 22 as the number of cases in India soared. The move does not affect cargo flights.

"These ongoing measures will remain in place to help protect Canadians and to manage the elevated risk of imported cases of Covid-19 and variants of concern," he told a briefing.

Read more: Covid-19: Saudi Arabia imposes travel ban on Pakistan, other countries

As vaccinations pick up across Canada, the number of daily new cases has dropped by 25% since last week and it now averages around 5,000, deputy chief public health officer Howard Njoo told the briefing.

Canada has so far recorded a total of 25,111 deaths from Covid-19 and more than 1.3 million cases overall.

The ban on Indian and Pakistani flights is part of a series of restrictions Canada has imposed to lower the transmission of the virus, including curbs on non-essential travel across the long land border with the United States.

Canada said on Thursday that the measure, first applied in March 2020, would be extended by another month to June 21. Government officials said they were in no hurry to open up travel across the border, citing the need to protect public health.

Ontario, the most populous of the 10 provinces, announced on Friday that it would begin administering second doses of AstraZeneca Inc's (AZN.L) Covid-19 vaccine after earlier halting roll out due to concerns about rare blood clots.

The province has tens of thousands of AstraZeneca doses set to expire at the end of May.

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