Due to the risks posed by COVID-19, Canada will extend its ban on the arrival of passenger flights from India until September 21, according to a statement released by the federal transport ministry on Monday. The ban was first put in place on April 22 and has since been extended several times. The ban has now been extended for the fifth time. The ban was supposed to end on August 21, but it will now be extended until September 21. Cargo flights and medical transfers are exempt from the rule.
This comes as a major setback at a time when the fall semester classes are set to begin next month. Due to the existing ban on direct flights, students have been forced to take up the option of indirect flights for which the airlines are charging heftily. The indirect route also requires the students to quarantine themselves in a third country for a week to ten days, depending upon the curbs in that country. The travel package to Canada including the institutional quarantine stay at the hotel takes the cost to 3.5-4 lakhs.
Amidst the huge rush of students to join campus classes, there is a huge backlog of student visas pending with the immigration department. Unable to process all the requests, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) had released a statement last week that said that IRCC cannot guarantee students that they will receive a final decision on their study- permit application in Canada before September 2021. Students who have already received a confirmation offer from the university, on the other hand, can begin their online classes, according to the department.
In response to India’s ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 within its borders, Canada has extended its ban on direct passenger flights from India till September 21. “Based on the latest public health advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Transport Canada is extending the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that restricts all direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India until September 21, 2021, at 23:59 EDT,” the department quoted in a statement.