Canada is easing the requirements for COVID-19 tests for travellers
Travelers may now enter Canada with an antigen test, and unvaccinated children will no longer be required to quarantine.
International flights to all Canadian airports will resume on February 28. Fully vaccinated travellers will be able to enter Canada with a pre-arrival antigen test, unvaccinated children will no longer be required to isolate for 14 days, and international flights to all Canadian airports will resume on February 28.
Additionally, if fully vaccinated travellers are randomly picked for an on-arrival test, they will no longer be required to quarantine while awaiting results.
The pre-arrival antigen test must be permitted by the nation from which the travellers are travelling, and it must be taken no more than 24 hours before their scheduled border crossing or flight. It is not enough to take a quick antigen test at home to fulfil the pre-entry criteria. A laboratory, healthcare organisation, or telemedicine provider must perform the test. Within 72 hours after arrival, travellers can still take a PCR test. The prior molecular test guidelines remained unchanged.
Travelers will still need to use the ArriveCAN app to upload documentation before crossing the border.
Travelers who have not been vaccinated must be screened upon arrival and placed in quarantine for 14 days. On the eighth day of their confinement, they will have to take a test.
The statement was made on February 15 in Ottawa, the nation's capital, by Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos. Ministers of transportation, public safety, tourism, and intergovernmental relations joined him.
International flights to all Canadian airports will resume at the end of the month, according to Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra. According to a press release, the warning to airmen restricting overseas flights will expire at 4 p.m. Eastern Time.
Canada's travel warning will be reduced from a level 3 to a level 2. This implies that the government will no longer advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel. Despite this, the minister encouraged Canadians to be aware of the dangers of overseas travel during the epidemic.
These measures, according to Duclos, are temporary and may be changed when the COVID-19 situation changes. He predicted that if hospitalisation rates fall in the near future, further limitations will be eased.
Border controls are expected to be reduced.
Last week, the health minister hinted at improvements, and Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the government is looking for more long-term measures to control COVID-19.
With a few exceptions, all visitors to Canada must be properly vaccinated. Travelers who have not been immunised must be quarantined. Vaccinated travellers must undergo a pre-arrival COVID-19 PCR test at least 72 hours prior to crossing the border, and they may be subjected to an on-arrival random test.
Last week, Duclos stated that the worst of the Omicron wave had passed Canada, and that the government would continue to alter measures as needed.
Tam stated that Canada's travel warning against overseas travel is under review.
Meanwhile, provincial governments are repealing COVID-19 regulations and eliminating the demand for vaccination passports. By mid-March, Manitoba expects to abolish COVID-19 limitations. Ontario has accelerated its implementation of lax public health measures. Quebec, Alberta, and Saskatchewan have all stated that they want to loosen regulations.
In recent weeks, health professionals and the tourist sector have pressed Canada to remove the COVID-19 test requirement.
The World Health Organization (WHO) advised last month that governments eliminate international travel prohibitions because they do not bring value and cause economic and social burden. Border controls are useless against the extremely infectious Omicron strain, as proven by its spread. Travel precautions such as masking, testing, quarantine, and immunisation, according to WHO, should be based on risk assessment and should not put a financial burden on foreign travellers.
Given the restricted worldwide availability and inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations, WHO also stated that governments should not require proof of immunisation against COVID-19 as the only requirement for foreign travel.