Canada's Travel Restrictions Now Officially Include A Warning Against Non-Essential Trips
Officials say this needs to happen "whether we like it or not."
In response to the Omicron variant of concern, Canada's travel restrictions are being updated to include an official warning that trips outside of Canada are not recommended.
On December 15, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced that the federal government is immediately advising Canadians to avoid all non-essential international travel outside of Canada.
This measure will be in place for four weeks and then be reassessed after that.
"For those who are planning to travel, I say very clearly, now is not the time to travel," Duclos said.
With the spread of the Omicron variant globally, the minister noted that Canadians could contract the virus or even get stranded abroad.
"Whether we like it or not, we must therefore adjust to this reality," he said.
In terms of testing, Duclos said that the government will continue to expand the capacity to test as many travellers arriving in Canada as possible and as quickly as possible.
"We know this must sound very drastic," Duclos said. "But we must avoid overloading our hospital system and our health care workers."
With travel restrictions that were introduced at the end of November, all air travellers entering Canada from countries other than the U.S. must take a COVID-19 test at the airport they land in no matter what their vaccination status is.
Foreign nationals who have been in Nigeria, Malawi, Egypt, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini in the 14 days prior to travel are still not allowed to enter Canada.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents who've been to any of those 10 countries must go through enhanced testing and quarintine measures, even if they are fully vaccinated.
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