The federal government has given a reason for the exemption.
If you’ve been wondering why travellers from the U.S. are exempt from Canada’s latest travel restrictions, the federal government has shared some answers.
During an interview on The West Block on December 5, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra spoke about the updates to Canada’s travel requirements, which include ramped-up testing at airports across the country.
“Those measures are temporary for us to learn more about this variant, to learn more about its severity,” he told the show’s host. “We will continually adjust based on the advice and the information that we get.”
Alghabra stood by the government’s decision to exempt travellers from the U.S. from the new rules, pointing to the lower levels of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the country.
Protecting the health and safety of Canadians is our priority. We have measures to prevent the importation of COVID-19, including Omicron. In addition to the test to be taken 72 hours before coming to Canada, here are the different scenarios after arriving at the border:pic.twitter.com/ItAQhghPby— Omar Alghabra (@Omar Alghabra) 1638628971
“There are very little reports of community transmission in the United States,” he said, adding, “If that changes, we will change our measures.”
The transport minister noted that most American passengers and travellers from the U.S. still face COVID-19 testing and vaccination mandates as a condition of entry to Canada.
“Currently, today, we have 20,000 tests a day at our borders, both land borders and airport borders, upon entry,” he added. “We have capacity for testing. We’re ramping it up. There’s no doubt that this will stretch our capacity that exists today, but we have been acting swiftly.”
This comes just days after the federal government implemented a series of new travel measures in response to the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The health and safety of Canadians remains our priority. We are strengthening the measures announced last week to include: 1/3pic.twitter.com/upQmwrXb8V— Omar Alghabra (@Omar Alghabra) 1638307382
In addition to increased testing and quarantine requirements, an entry ban was placed on foreign nationals who’ve visited any of the following countries in the previous 14 days: Nigeria, Malawi, Egypt, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini.
The U.S. has also implemented stricter testing protocol at its airports, but these rules do apply to travellers from Canada (regardless of their nationality and COVID-19 vaccination status).
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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