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Travelling Between Canada & The US Could Get Harder Due To The Omicron Variant

Both countries are reportedly reconsidering their travel rules.👇✈️

Trending Editor
Travelling Between Canada & The US Could Get Harder Due To The Omicron Variant

Due to rising concerns about the Omicron variant of COVID-19, travelling between the U.S. and Canada could get more complicated again.

On Tuesday, November 30, Canadian federal officials introduced several new measures to address the new variant of concern, which includes increased testing at Canada’s borders.

From Tuesday onwards, all fully vaccinated travellers arriving via plane will be subject to COVID-19 testing upon arrival in Canada. They will be required to quarantine until a negative result is received.

Right now, the only exception to this rule is passengers arriving from the United States.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals (with right of entry to Canada) must continue to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and on day 8, and must quarantine for 14 days. As of Tuesday, they will be required to stay in a “designated quarantine facility or other suitable location” while they wait for test results.

Although fully vaccinated passengers from the States are not currently required to test upon arrival in Canada, this could soon change.

Speaking on Tuesday, Canadian Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos revealed that officials are preparing for “a possible extension of that last measure to all travellers, by land and by air, coming from the United States.”

He said they were “working with provinces and territories to see how that could be done,” should the situation require it.

Duclos added that he would be meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts on Tuesday to “see how we can prepare for other eventualities.”

What about the U.S. border?

In the U.S., officials are also reconsidering travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant.

According to Global News, the Biden administration is expected to announce tougher testing requirements for international visitors to the United States on Thursday, regardless of their vaccination status.

An American official said that options under consideration include stricter post-arrival testing, self-quarantines and retesting within three to five days post arrival.

Didn’t it just get easier to cross the Canada-U.S. border?

Yes. Over the past few weeks, travel between the two countries has become easier as land and air borders on both sides have completely opened to fully vaccinated travellers.

Canadians taking short trips across the border were also given the go-ahead to skip pre-arrival COVID-19 testing in Canada, provided they returned home within 72 hours. This made it easier and cheaper to visit the U.S. for things like shopping, as well as visiting family and friends.

However, if stronger travel requirements are implemented on both sides, it could soon get complicated again.

What else is going on?

On November 30, officials also announced that Canada is expanding the list of countries with entry restrictions in response to the Omicron variant.

It means foreign nationals who have travelled to any of the following 10 countries (in the 14 days prior to travel) will not be permitted to enter Canada: Nigeria, Malawi, Egypt, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents (regardless of their vaccination status) who've been to any of these countries will be subject to enhanced testing, screening and quarantine measures.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

    Helena Hanson
    Trending Editor
    Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Canada's Trending Desk focused on major news. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.
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