Drastic drop in COVID infected international flights in May

Of note:

Transport Canada’s decision to ban passenger flights from India appears to have had an impact.

While numbers are always updated as new cases are diagnosed, data posted online by Health Canada as of Tuesday shows only 113 flights landing at Canadian airports last month carried passengers infected with COVID-19.

That’s compared to 288 flights counted in April — 66 of which were direct flights from India’s capital of Delhi.

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra halted passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days as of April 22, as well as adding additional restrictions on travellers arriving from India via connecting flights — including requiring a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken at the last port of entry before entering Canada.

This all but halted passenger traffic from both countries, as laboratory tests that typically require 24 hours can’t be accommodated during airport stopovers usually only lasting a few hours.

As many travellers from India had been connecting through Middle Eastern airports like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha, infected passengers on those flights likewise saw big drops — just four from the United Arab Emirates last month compared to 35 in April.

Initially meant to last 30 days, the flight ban was extended last month to June 22.

During the first part of the pandemic, India typically only saw a handful of infected flights landing at Canadian airports each month.

All that changed in mid-February with a spike of infected flights coinciding with that country’s devastating variant-fuelled second wave.

Pakistan, meanwhile, has never been a significant factor, with Health Canada only reporting five such flights in April.

The United States was Canada’s largest source of infected flights last month, seeing 23 planes land with at least one passenger testing COVID positive — that’s compared to 49 in April.

Paris and Doha, Qatar, tied for second place with 11, followed by 10 from Guatemala, eight each from Frankfurt and Panama, seven from Istanbul, six from Amsterdam and five from Mexico City.

Toronto saw the most arrivals last month with 49 compared to 167 in April; followed by Montreal with 43 versus 57 in April; 14 in Vancouver compared to 42 in April; and six landing in Calgary compared to 19 the month previous.

Top sources of international flights with COVID-19 infected passengers in May (April’s total in parentheses)

1. USA: 23 (49)
2. Doha: 11 (21)
3. Paris: 11 (16)
4. Guatemala: 10 (4)
5. Amsterdam: 6 (12)
6. Frankfurt: 8 (13)
7. Panama: 8 (4)
8. Istanbul: 7 (18)
9. Mexico City: 5 (5)
10. Kingston, Jamaica: 3 (8)

Source: Drastic drop in COVID infected international flights in May

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: