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Canada extends India and Pakistan flight ban

In an announcement by its Transport Minister, Canada has extended the flight ban placed on Pakistan and India almost a year ago.

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Canada Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced on Friday that Canada’s flight ban on India and Pakistan would be extended until next month. In a press conference, Alghabra said the ban would continue until June 21 due to the “elevated risk” of imported cases of COVID-19 and variants of concern into Canada.

“I can say that we have seen a significant reduction in the number of positive cases of COVID-19 arriving from international flights since this restriction was put in place.”

The flight ban initially instituted on April 22 was set to expire after one month and applied to all direct flights to Canada from India and Pakistan.

In order for passengers to still come to Canada from those countries, they must travel via another country first, provided they have a negative COVID-19 test from their last point of departure and follow other travel guidelines.

Read More: West looks at Pakistan with fresh eyes as US ease’s travel restrictions

The bill will have to be paid from the travelers own pocket, which costs around $2,000 depending on location. People must also take three COVID-19 tests: one before they board their flight to Canada, a test upon arrival, and a test during their two-week mandatory quarantine period.

All air passengers must follow the quarantine regulations, even if they have been fully vaccinated and are not showing symptoms.

The UK also has travel restrictions on Pakistan, among 39 countries on England’s ‘red list.’ Only British and Irish citizens or those who hold permanent residency in the UK are allowed to enter England after a ten-day mandatory quarantine provided by the government.

The Gulf countries also have a set of restrictions on travel from Pakistan. The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) stated that entry from 13 countries, including Pakistan, was banned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More: Pakistan added to England’s travel ‘red list’

With the government of Pakistan celebrating its achievement of creating jobs internationally, this long list of travel restrictions has come at a severe cost. With Pakistan’s economy vastly dependent on remittances from its diaspora, this is indeed a crippling blow to its recovery.

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