Canada's Testing Requirement For Travellers Will Be Evaluated As 'The Whole World Has Omicron'

Dr. Theresa Tam said testing every traveller is "a capacity drain."

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Canada's Testing Requirement For Travellers Will Be Evaluated As 'The Whole World Has Omicron'

According to the country's top doctor, Canada's testing requirement for travellers will be evaluated "over time" since "the whole world has Omicron" and there could be a better way to screen people who come into the country.

During a COVID-19 modelling update on January 14, Dr. Theresa Tam was asked if the government should still be testing incoming travellers upon arrival when Omicron is so widespread and there is a limited capacity for testing across the country.

"At the border, it's not just Omicron-related detection that we are trying to do. We're there also to detect any other new variants or mixes of variants," the top doctor explained.

She noted that since the whole world has Omicron including our next-door neighbour, the U.S., there might be a better way to screen people who enter the country for the virus.

"We could do sampling for the tests instead of testing maybe every single vaccinated individual coming from other countries but we will evaluate that over time," Tam said.

Canada's top doctor also called the on-arrival testing requirement "a capacity drain" and said that they've been trying to find a way to balance it out.

However, the federal government is continuing with its trajectory set out for testing travellers.

"What is really important for the border is a really good random sample where you are not just following Omicron but following the other variants," Tam said.

Back on December 21, 2021, the rule that requires a pre-arrival test even for travellers who left the country for less than 72 hours came into effect once again which means tests are needed for all trips of all durations.

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