• Canada Bans Flights From India, Pakistan For 30 Days Amid COVID Surge
(Photo: Reuters-Yonhap News)

Canada is temporarily banning all flights from India and Pakistan over rising COVID-19 cases.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced Thursday the ban would last 30 days, but cargo flights from both countries would continue.

"The COVID-19 pandemic can change rapidly," he said, citing rising pressure on the Canadian health care system and the continued spread of variants.

He spoke hours after India reported a global record of more than 314,000 new infections over a 24-hour period.

Canadian Health Minister Patty Hajdu said half the people who have tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Canada by plane came from India.

She said there was also a disproportionately higher number of positive cases among those traveling from Pakistan.

The minister explained that eliminating direct travel from the countries is intended to give health officials time to sequence and better understand the variant first detected in India.

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