Canada is introducing several new measures at the border to prevent the spread of a new variant of concern in the country.
The World Health Organization declared the new variant a variant of concern. It has been given the name Omicron.
The federal government is banning travellers from seven southern African countries. Travellers who are flying indirectly will need to get a negative COVID-19 test from a third country before flying to Canada.
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Foreign nationals who have travelled to any of the countries in the last 14 days will be barred from entering Canada. The seven countries under the travel ban are South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Namibia.
Today we are banning entry for foreign nationals that have travelled to Southern Africa in the last 14 days. We will also make testing mandatory on all Canadians entering into Canada and having travelled to Southern Africa in the last 14 days. 2/2
— Omar Alghabra (@OmarAlghabra) November 26, 2021
Canadian citizens who have travelled to these areas must provide a negative COVID-19 test to return to Canada. Once in Canada, they will be required to quarantine in an authorized hotel until their point-of-entry test comes back negative.
Canadians will be able to isolate at home if they receive a negative test upon arrival. They will have to test again on day 10 of isolation and can leave quarantine if that test comes back negative.
Travellers who have come to Canada from any of these countries in the last 14 days are being asked to get tested and quarantine until they receive a negative result.
These measures go into effect immediately until January 31.
Dr. Theresa Tam told reporters at a press conference that the variant has not been detected in international travellers in Canada at this time.
“Provincial laboratories across Canada have been alerted to this new variant and have searched for possible detections, but today there are no indications of the variants present in Canada,” she said.