Canada to ask airline arrivals to pass COVID tests, except on U.S. flights – .

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Canada to ask airline arrivals to pass COVID tests, except on U.S. flights – .


OTTAWA, Nov. 30 (Reuters) – Canada, seeking to stop the spread of the coronavirus variant Omicron, will require people arriving by air from all countries except the United States to take a COVID-19 test, has declared the Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos on Tuesday.

Ottawa is also extending the ban on travelers from southern Africa to three more countries, bringing the total to 10.

Canada has identified seven people with the new variant, at least four of whom were recently in Nigeria.

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The Canadian government has also said it is in advanced talks with Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) regarding an agreement to purchase COVID-19 antiviral drugs.

“All air travelers coming from outside of Canada, except the United States, will now need to be tested at the airport (where) they land in Canada,” Duclos said in a briefing.

“They will then have to self-isolate until they get their test results. “

Duclos said the Liberal government will talk to all 10 provinces to see if the testing requirement could be extended, if necessary, to cover all people entering the country, both by air and through the US land border. The provinces would have to accept the extension.

“We don’t know if this should be done,” he said, adding that no decision had been made.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said foreign nationals who had traveled to Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt in the previous 14 days would be temporarily barred from entering Canada.

Last week, Ottawa banned travelers who had recently visited South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Read more

Canadians and permanent residents who have stayed in the 10 countries, even those who are fully vaccinated, must also be tested before entering Canada, he added.

The province of Alberta in western Canada has confirmed a case of the Omicron variant, Chief Medical Officer Deena Hinshaw told reporters on Tuesday. Hinshaw said the person identified in Alberta was asymptomatic and had recently traveled from Nigeria and the Netherlands.

British Columbia has also reported its first case of the new variant, with the individual recently returning from a trip to Nigeria.

The premiers of Ontario and Quebec, Canada’s two most populous provinces, are calling on Ottawa to impose tougher measures and more testing for the virus.

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Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Porter, Grant McCool, David Gregorio and Karishma Singh

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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