Canada toughens border measures – .

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Canada toughens border measures – .


OTTAWA – Canada is revising its vaccine recall strategy, adding new countries to the list of countries with federal travel restrictions, and imposing new testing requirements on all air travelers arriving from outside of Canada, at except the United States, due to concerns about the Omicron variant.

Federal ministers and public health officials announced the three new measures on Tuesday in an update on Canada’s latest steps to prevent the importation and spread of the variant of concern.

The new testing requirements mean that all air travelers arriving from outside of Canada, except the United States, will now have to be tested at the airport when they land in Canada, in addition to the requirement. existing pre-departure test.

Those who are vaccinated will need to self-isolate until they test negative, and those who are not vaccinated will need to continue to isolate for the full 14 days and test on the first and eighth day of their quarantine. . As long as these travelers have a safe place to self-isolate, they don’t have to spend their isolation in a government quarantine hotel.

The new air travelers test requirement for countries without travel bans is expected to come into effect “over the next few days,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said. He expects about 32,000 tests to be administered at Canadian airports per day, with the government covering the cost of these tests.

Duclos said Canada was preparing for a “possible extension” of this policy to include the United States and land borders if the situation changed to the point that there was justification for reimposing new restrictions on Canada’s borders.

REVISION OF THE REINFORCEMENT PLAN

While it is not clear how transmissible and severe the B.1.1.529 variant infection could be, Duclos said, given that Omicron is highly mutated, the federal government is asking the National Advisory Committee to Immunization (NACI) to promptly provide an update on its guidance on the use of COVID-19 vaccine boosters.

“This measure, this call that we are making is to ask NACI to provide early advice on whether we should revise national standards, national attitudes and actions on the use of boosters across Canada in the world. context of the new Omicron variant, ”said Duclos. . “We are explicitly asking NACI to quickly come up with a revised view on where, how and to whom these reminders should be administered. “

While all provinces and territories manage the priority of recalls in their jurisdictions, access is currently not widespread, with the conversation continuing on whether Canada should offer third doses to healthy adults. or send these injections to other countries that do not. have the kind of access that Canada has.

TRAVEL PROHIBITED CONDITIONS

In terms of travel bans, Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt will join seven other African countries – South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini – that the federal government decided to restrict on Friday.

The policy prohibits entry into Canada of all foreign nationals who have traveled to these countries in the last 14 days. Canadians, permanent residents and all those who have the right to return to Canada will still be able to return home but will face new measures upon arrival.

All returning Canadians and others with the right of entry will be required to undergo a test before entering Canada, and as of Tuesday evening, this test cannot have been administered in any of the 10 countries in the country. listing. This means that those seeking to re-enter that country will have to travel to a third country first to receive a negative test result before returning home.

Once disembarked, travelers returning from these countries who are vaccinated will need to be tested at the airport on arrival and remain in a government quarantine facility until they test negative. Then, they can return home to complete isolation while awaiting the result of their eighth day test.

Those who are not vaccinated will need to quarantine for a full 14 days at a government facility.

“These test measures will allow us to assess the development of the situation and determine any additional and appropriate measures,” said Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra.

The government said that distinguishing these 10 countries, while Omicron has shown up in other countries, is due to the rate of community transmission.

MORE CHANGES MAY COME

The federal cabinet discussed the developments surrounding Omicron during a closed-door cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning.

As of Tuesday evening, seven cases of the worrisome variant were confirmed in Canada, with public health officials warning that more cases will likely be discovered in the coming days.

Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia have all detected cases of the variant, although health officials across the country are performing targeted testing on people who have traveled from countries of the world. Southern Africa subject to ban.

Federal officials said Tuesday they expect the situation and federal policies to continue to evolve.

“This is what we are doing today, it may well be that by gaining time, we find that the new variant is less worrying than what some experts might fear, but the situation could also develop differently, we recall. so to Canadians that travel rules and border rules in particular can always change… and we will be monitoring the situation as all Canadians will over the next few days and weeks, ”said Duclos.

In an interview with CTV News Channel’s Power Play, Alghabra said the government would likely reassess the rules over the next two to three weeks, but added that it was too early to say what the travel situation would look like during the vacation.

“This will add more measures at the border, and we will be working very hard with our partners at the airports and the CBSA to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible… But I want to ask for patience and understand. why these measures are important, ”he said. “I understand how frustrating this has all been, but what we’re doing is really avoiding going back to blockages. “

Reacting to the news, opposition MPs on CTV News Channel’s Power Play expressed their wish for more clarity on the measures, but expressed support for temporary measures given the current pandemic situation.

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