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Canada introduces more measures to address Omicron variant concern

Air Canada. Stock Image: Nel Botha/Pixabay

Ottawa (Ontario), Dec 1 (MNN) The government of Canada has announced additional border measures related to international travel to reduce risk of importation and transmission of COVID-19 and its variants in the country.

Based on the data from ongoing surveillance efforts and the latest public health advice, Canada expanded its list of countries with entry prohibitions originally announced on November 26, 2021, to include Egypt, Nigeria and Malawi, the Public Health Agency of Canada said on Tuesday (local time).

Effective from December 1, foreign nationals who have been in any of these countries within the previous 14 days will not be permitted entry into Canada: Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Canadian citizens, permanent residents and people with status under the Indian Act, regardless of their vaccination status or having had a previous history of testing positive for COVID-19, who have been in any of these 10 countries in the previous 14 days, will be subject to enhanced pre-entry and arrival testing, screening, and quarantine measures.

Border testing surveillance will be adjusted based on the latest available evidence to further reduce the risk of importation of Omicron variant.

In the coming days, all fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air from departure points other than the United States will be subject to arrival testing.

Fully vaccinated travellers will be required to quarantine while they await the results of their arrival test.

Unvaccinated travellers, with right of entry to Canada, will continue to be tested on arrival and day 8 and quarantine for 14 days.

However, those arriving by air will now be required to stay in a designated quarantine facility or other suitable location while they await the result of their on arrival test.

The government of Canada will continue to assess the evolving situation, monitor case data, and adjust border measures as required.

On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization classified B.1.1.529 as a Variant of Concern called Omicron.

Since then it has been found in a number of countries and regions, including the confirmation of several travel-related cases in Canada.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced the additional border measures related to international travel.

“Our government continues to take unprecedented and swift action to protect the health and safety of Canadians as we introduce new robust, science-based measures to prevent COVID-19 variants of concern from being spread in Canada. The new requirements announced today are another layer of protection to to safeguard Canadians’ health,” Alghabra said.

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