Following the soaring COVID-19 cases in India and Pakistan, the Canadian government has put a 30 day travel ban on passenger flights from the two countries. Addressing a virtual press conference, Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said that due to the increasing number of travelers from India and Pakistan arriving in Canada with COVID-19, all commercial and private passenger flights from those countries will be barred as of 11:30 p.m. Thursday night. Cargo flights will still be permitted in order to maintain shipments of essential supplies, such as vaccines and personal protective equipment, he said. Alghabra said air passengers who depart from India or Pakistan but arrive in Canada via a third country will need to produce a negative result on a COVID-19 test taken at their last point of departure before being allowed to enter Canada. Health Minister Patty Hajdu said that while only 1.8 per cent of all air travellers entering Canada are found to be COVID-19-positive, an increasing number of travellers on flights arriving from India and Pakistan have been testing positive in recent days. India has become a global hotspot for the coronavirus recently, with more than 314,000 new infections being reported today. A new COVID-19 variant, B1617, has been detected there and experts say it could be behind the massive surge ravaging the country and stressing its hospital system.