March 23, 2021 1:01:50 am
Nearly a third of international flights that landed in Canada with passengers that tested positive for coronavirus upon arrival between March 3 and 19, were from Delhi, data sourced from Health Canada showed. A total of 98 international flights arrived in the North American country during this period, of which 30 were from Delhi, and of these, 21 were operated by Air India and nine by Air Canada.
The remaining flights arrived from locations such as Frankfurt, Dubai, Islamabad, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Paris, Lahore, etc.
For example, Air India’s flight AI187 on March 11 from Delhi to Toronto had rows 41-53 affected because of presence of Covid-19 positive passengers in the aircraft. This represents 101 seats on the Boeing 777-300 aircraft that Air India operates on the route.
A row is considered ‘affected’ if it is three rows behind or in front of a row where a seated person is confirmed to have Covid-19 and during a period when they may have been infectious to others.
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Of these 30 flights from Delhi, 21 landed in Toronto and nine landed in Vancouver. As of February 14, Canadian authorities compel flyers over the age of five to provide a Covid-19 negative molecular test certificate before boarding a Canada-bound flight.
Pointing to “lacunae” in test reports, Air India said, “Air India as a responsible airline is strictly conforming to the rules and protocol laid down by different countries. Only passengers with Covid negative reports are being allowed to board international flights from any destination in India. Hence, Air India cannot be held responsible for any lacunae on the issue of passenger test reports”.
Air India had come under fire from Hong Kong authorities as well last year for transporting passengers who tested Covid-19 positive upon arrival. Because of this, the flag carrier faced several 15-day ban from Hong Kong administration from flying into the city.
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