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Canada removes India-specific COVID test rules for passengers

Canada removes India-specific COVID test rules for passengers

Now travelling to Canada from India is less cumbersome as Canada has removed certain COVID-19 testing rules that were specific to India. Earlier, travellers from India had to obtain a negative RT-PCR test prior to boarding from a single laboratory located at Delhi Airport. But now, they can obtain a negative RT-PCR test result from any lab recognized by the Indian Council of Medical Research. It means soon direct flights from more Indian cities to and from Canada may resume, where at present, direct flights only operate from the Delhi Airport.

The negative test result is still mandatory in the context of restrictions implemented in the wake of the spread of Omicron variant of COVID-19. Only molecular test result is acceptable and antigen tests are not accepted. Both the vaccines used in India, Covishield and Covaxin, are now recognized in Canada. If the passengers from India are taking a connecting flight, they need not provide a negative test result from the third country before leaving for Canada. However, the passengers arriving in Canada may be subject to random COVID-19 testing. Further, the Government of Canada has advised Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country at this time.

Earlier, passengers from India required to undergo their pre-departure test at a single laboratory of the company named Genestrings, located at Delhi airport. The passengers were also required to provide a negative test result before boarding for any destination in Canada. It created a lot of trouble for passengers as it took eight to nine hours for getting the results. The test was also supposed to be done within 18 hours of scheduled departure. Those travelling via an indirect route were also needed to provide a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test from the third country before they continued their journey to Canada. All travellers entering Canada are now subject to the same pre-entry test requirements, regardless of their departure country.

The testing norms specific to India were introduced in September when Canada lifted ban on direct flights between the two countries. The ban had come into effect in April 2021, in the wake of Delta wave in India.

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