Canadian officials announced new travel restrictions Tuesday to combat the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
All air travellers coming to Canada will be tested for COVID-19 at the airport where they land, whether they’re vaccinated or not. They will need to self-isolate until results come back.
This applies to all international arrivals except those coming from the US.
The federal government will foot the bill for the additional point-of-entry COVID-19 tests. Officials estimated these new rules would increase the number of entry tests from 20,000 per day to 32,000 per day.
Many Canadians will be able to quarantine at home while waiting for test results, but people without a safe place to isolate will be sent to a quarantine hotel. In addition, Canadian citizens and permanent residents coming back from on of the 10 African countries with enhanced border measures will need to quarantine in hotels.
The government is also evaluating whether to extend testing and quarantine measure to all land travellers, including those from the US.
Officials said the new rules would kick in the evening of November 30, but did not give a precise time.
Three more African countries added to list with additional restrictions
Canada is adding three more countries to its list for enhanced border measures: Egypt, Malawi, and Nigeria.
Foreign nationals who have travelled to these countries in the last two weeks are not permitted to enter Canada. Canadian citizens and permanent residents will need to quarantine and be tested, including those who are fully vaccinated.
Finally, Canadians and permanent residents coming back from one of the 10 countries on the list will need to take additional steps to secure a negative COVID-19 test for arrival.
Canada will not accept negative test results from the countries on the list. Returning travellers must stop in a third country to obtain a negative PCR test result, Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra announced. This restrictions applies to fully vaccinated individuals.
The 10 countries with enhanced travel restrictions due to Omicron include:
- South Africa
Several Canadian provinces have confirmed they’ve detected Omicron cases, with BC and Alberta announcing they discovered their first cases on Tuesday.
Canada’s latest restrictions come on the same day that the World Health Organization advised against blanket travel bans, saying they will not prevent international spread and will instead place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods.
More than 50 countries have implemented travel measures to delay importation of Omicron since November 28, according to the WHO.