Canada abandons Covid tests for vaccinated travelers

“High vaccination rates and strong adherence to public health measures pushed us through the peak of the Omicron wave,” Duclos told reporters. “It’s fair to say that we are now entering a transition phase of this pandemic.”

The details: The change will make Canada more open to travellers.

Fully vaccinated people — in Canada, those who have received at least two doses of a World Health Organization-recognized Covid vaccine — may still be randomly selected upon arrival for molecular testing. But they will no longer need to self-quarantine while awaiting their results.

Pre-departure tests, which can cost more than C$200 each, have discouraged Canadians from traveling abroad and foreigners from visiting the country. The tests have also added a layer of uncertainty for people who fear receiving a positive test result shortly before their planned trip.

The government will continue to require partially and unvaccinated travelers provide proof of a negative Covid test result.

Not enough: Representative Brian Higgins, a New York Democrat who represents a border district in Buffalo, applauded Canada’s decision. But he argued in separate letters Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden further relaxation is needed.

Higgins called on leaders to eliminate Covid vaccine requirements for all travelers at land ports of entry. He said the measure reduced cross-border travel and trade flows.

“It’s time to follow the science and remove remaining restrictions at the U.S. and Canadian borders to allow Americans and Canadians to move freely,” Higgins wrote.

Air travelers who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents must be fully immunized to enter the United States.

At land and ferry crossings, all non-US persons must be fully immunized. No test results are required.

Trudeau told a press conference on Wednesday that he expects Canadians to remain cautious as restrictions are lifted and the country emerges from the two-year crisis.

“All Canadians are damn tired of two years of this pandemic and eager to get back to normal as much as possible,” Trudeau said at an event north of Toronto when asked if he would continue to wear a mask once. most warrants lifted in Ontario on Monday. “As measures are relaxed and adjusted across the country, Canadians will of course benefit, but also, I know, will continue to keep in mind the choices needed from context to context to keep them safe. and that of their loved ones.

The reaction: Air Canada welcomed the announcement, saying it will boost the country’s travel and tourism industry, which is a key driver of the economy.

“People are eager to travel and reconnect with loved ones, and ending pre-departure testing will provide travelers with more certainty, allowing them to plan their next trip with more confidence and without fear of incurring additional costs.” , David Rheault , a vice president of the airline, said in a statement. “Canada is now joining other countries around the world in reopening and we are looking ahead to the summer travel season.”

And after: Duclos said in January about 10% of people arriving in Canada tested positive for Covid. Currently, that rate is down to around 1%.

But he insisted the government would remain vigilant as new variants of Covid emerged and could reimpose restrictions, if necessary.

“If we find that we need to adjust the measures, obviously we will,” Duclos said when asked about concerns about the global spread of the BA2 strain of Covid.


Politico

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