Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced that Canada is suspending commercial and passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days, effective April 22 at 11:30 p.m. EST "due to the continued spread of variants of concern."
The announcement comes just a day after Quebec's Institut national de santé publique (INSPQ) and CIUSSS de la Mauricie–Centre-du-Québec confirmed the province's first known case of the new COVID-19 variant strain, first identified in India, labelled B.1.617.
"This is a temporary measure while we assess the evolving situation and determine appropriate measures going forward," Alghabra said.
Cargo flights from both countries will be permitted to enter Canada to ensure a continued supply of vaccines, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential supplies.
Passengers who depart from either country to Canada via an indirect flight route after 11:30 p.m. tonight must obtain a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test at their last point of departure.