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Trudeau Health Minister won't answer if Canada will ban flights from India

A total of 112 flights to Canada have carried COVID-positive passengers to Canada since the start of the pandemic, with nearly one-third of them being from Delhi alone.

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Health Minister Patty Hajdu dodged questions on Wednesday regarding the possibility of a flight ban from India after 33 separate flights from Delhi, the nation's capital, brought COVID-positive people to the country, Toronto Sun reports.

"The challenge with country-by-country approaches is COVID spreads in ways that we can see, and ways that we can't," Hajdu said when asked about a potential flight ban. "The safest thing for Canadians is to have a universal approach that requires scrutiny at the border."

A total of 112 flights to Canada have carried COVID-positive passengers to Canada since the start of the pandemic, with nearly one-third of them being from Delhi alone.

Despite this, Hajdu assured that Canada is experiencing "a very low rate of importation" of the virus from across international boundaries.

"We'll continue to do our part at the border to make sure we're aware of travellers who are sick and properly isolating them so we don't add to the burden of cases in the community," she said.

The question comes as India experiences an unprecedented second wave of coronavirus. The country's previous peak in new daily cases was in September of last year, when nearly 100,000 cases were being recorded per day. After declining over the winter months, cases have once again begun to rise since March, with over 200,000 cases being reported daily in the country.

New Zealand, which has largely gotten the coronavirus pandemic under control within its borders, has since banned all flights from India in order to prevent further spread of the virus. Even the nation's own citizens have not been allowed to return to New Zealand from India since the flight ban was instituted.

India banned most international flights in March, with Canada being one of thirteen nations with an "air bridge" exemption.

While Canada has been largely hesitant to outright ban international flights to any given country, the country has implemented controversial safety measures including "quarantine hotels," in which arrivals in Canada are detained for three days in order to monitor for coronavirus cases.

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