Vaccinated travellers won’t need COVID-19 test to enter Canada as of April 1

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OTTAWA — Vaccinated travellers will not want to indicate a COVID-19 check to enter Canada starting April 1, Well being Minister Jean-Yves Duclos formally introduced Thursday.

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The change comes on the very starting of the vacationer season and the tail finish of the Omicron wave in Canada, as new reported instances of COVID-19 have declined since mid-January.

The brand new, extra lenient border coverage is feasible due to Canada’s excessive vaccination charge and fewer instances of the virus being detected on the border, Duclos stated.

“Over the previous few weeks we’ve seen a major lower within the charge of positivity of travellers getting into into Canada,” Duclos stated at a briefing Thursday.

Whereas the positivity charge at airports was about 10 per cent in January, it has since fallen to about one per cent, Duclos stated.

Incoming vacationers will nonetheless should be vaccinated to go to Canada, and all inbound travellers should additionally add their particulars to the ArriveCan app.

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Duclos stated vaccinated individuals might nonetheless be topic to random molecular assessments after they arrive at Canadian airports and land border crossings.

Cruise-bound vacationers will nonetheless should be examined earlier than boarding, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra stated, however they won’t must take a check to get off the ship.

The change has already been met with celebration from Canadian vacationer teams just like the Canadian Journey and Tourism Roundtable.

“Canada’s tourism sector is able to guarantee the protection of travellers, employers and the communities during which they function,” stated Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault. “They’re able to welcome again the world.”

It is going to additionally make an enormous distinction for Canadians seeking to get away this summer time, stated Richard Vanderlubbe, president of

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“The testing was not solely a price, but additionally a fear for Canadians returning dwelling. The priority about testing constructive and being quarantined overseas weighed heavy on Canadians’ minds considering international journey,” Vanderlubbe stated in an announcement.

He’s already seen extra demand, with a pickup in calls and bookings since Wednesday when media first reported on the change.

Whereas many Canadians could have forged their minds towards sandy seashores and far-off locations, the World Well being Group has warned of worrying indicators overseas.

The variety of instances internationally has begun to creep up within the Western Pacific area, Africa and Europe, the WHO says.

A number of areas have blamed the rising instances on the prevalence of the extra contagious BA.2 variant, a sub-mutation of the Omicron variant which has been given the moniker “stealth Omicron.”

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BA.2 makes up about 22 per cent of recognized instances in Canada as of Feb. 20.

Nonetheless, it’s an affordable time to maneuver away from the check requirement, stated College of Saskatchewan epidemiologist Nazeem Muhajarine, notably since random arrival assessments will proceed.

“By random PCR testing, we might nonetheless control the prevalence charge of COVID-19 amongst travellers for individuals who are travelling to Canada,” Muhajarine stated.

In comparison with previous waves of the virus, Canada now has extra expertise in coping with surges of COVID-19 and most Canadians at the moment are vaccinated, he stated.

Talking from Sri Lanka, which just lately rescinded its pre-departure COVID-19 assessments as effectively, Muhajarine stated the change will convey Canada consistent with many different international locations — although america nonetheless requires a check to fly into the nation.

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Regardless of the regarding indicators overseas, Duclos stated he believes Canada’s excessive charge of absolutely vaccinated individuals, at 80.85 per cent, will shield the nation from critical outcomes.

“I feel that we’ll do very effectively within the subsequent weeks and months,” Duclos stated in French on the briefing.

COVID-19 measures on the border are nonetheless evolving, he stated, and will likely be adjusted if crucial. Duclos didn’t say what sort of circumstances may set off the necessity for extra stringent testing once more.

The foundations for unvaccinated Canadians and different travellers who’re exempt from the vaccine mandate stay unchanged. They’ll nonetheless want to supply a damaging speedy antigen or molecular check, or an accepted type of proof of current an infection to enter the nation.

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Unvaccinated travellers can even be examined on arrival, once more eight days later, and will likely be required to quarantine for 14 days.

The federal government has proven no indicators of eradicating vaccines as a compulsory requirement for journey, and Duclos stated the mandate remains to be wanted.

The federal government must be clear about how officers make choices about COVID-19 restrictions for journey, stated NDP transport critic Taylor Bachrach.

“There proceed to be questions on how lengthy the remaining border measures will stay in place and whether or not the vaccination standing of travellers will likely be amended to incorporate booster pictures,” he stated in an announcement.

As a lot as Canadians need to journey, in addition they want as a lot certainty as the federal government can present about what journey will appear to be in coming weeks and months, he stated.

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Conservative well being critic Michael Barrett has additionally known as for the federal government to indicate the clear epidemiological benchmarks that justify Thursday’s announcement, in addition to any that may set off additional adjustments to pandemic journey. He known as the federal government “gradual to behave” and “behind on reopening.”

Duclos stated all measures are “topic to assessment,” and will likely be based mostly on new details about the virus because it turns into obtainable.

Muhajarine stated he expects the mandates will stay till the top of the pandemic.

“We have to maintain that mandate in place, as a result of that’s our trump card in our hand towards COVID-19. We’ve got performed it and we have to stick with it till the sport is over,” he stated.

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