Canada immigration news: In a bid to stop the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, Canada is to require all arrivals by air except those coming from the U.S. to take a COVID-19 test, it was announced on Tuesday.
Ottawa is also adding three new countries to its southern Africa travel ban list – Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt – bringing the total to 10.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos made the announcement on testing in a briefing on Tuesday.
He said: “All air travellers coming from outside Canada, apart from the United States, will now need to be tested at the airport (where) they are landing in Canada. They will then need to isolate themselves until they get the results of their test.”
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The federal government is to talk to each of Canada’s 10 provinces to see if testing can be extended to everyone entering the country, by both and across the land border. Duclos said no decision had been taken as yet.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra made the announcement about the extension of the travel ban.
Foreign nationals who have been to Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt, as well as South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Mozambique in the last 14 days are temporarily banned from entering Canada.
Of the six Omicron cases discovered in Canada, three were in people who had recently travelled to Nigeria.
Canadians and permanent residents who have travelled to one of the 10 countries must also be tested before entering Canada, even if they are fully vaccinated.
The imposition of the testing requirement will come as a blow to Canada’s attempts to put the pandemic in the rear-view mirror.
It comes on the day Canada moved to require all those travelling within and out of the country to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The change, announced earlier in November, means a negative PCR test is no longer accepted as an alternative to vaccination unless travellers are covered by an exemption.
Further changes also coming into force include the removal of the negative test requirement for trips of 72 hours or less, and an expansion of the list of accepted vaccines.
Short Trips Out Of Canada
Also from today, fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents who depart and re-enter Canada within 72 hours are not required to present a negative PCR test result.
The list of vaccines recognised by Canada has also been updated to match the World Health Organisation’s emergency use list.
The full list reads:
- Johnson & Johnson