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Canada announces additional border measures to address Omicron variant

people wearing masks walking in the Vancouver airport

The Government of Canada today announced additional restrictions to international travel to reduce the risk of the transmission of COVID-19, and specifically the new Omicron variant, in Canada.

Based on data from ongoing surveillance efforts and the latest public health advice, the Government of Canada is expanding the list of countries with entry prohibitions to 10:

  • Egypt
  • Lesotho
  • Nigeria
  • Mozambique
  • Malawi
  • Namibia
  • Botswana
  • South Africa
  • Eswatini
  • Zimbabwe

Starting December 1, foreign nationals who have been in any of these countries within the previous 14 days will not be permitted entry into Canada.

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

According to the government announcement, 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 will continue to be tested on arrival and on day 8 and must 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.

“We are taking quick action at our borders to mitigate travel related importations of the Omicron variant,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada’s Minister of Health.

“While our monitoring systems are working well, we now know that the Omicron variant is present in Canada. We need to remain vigilant in our own actions. Vaccination and simple public health measures such as masking and limiting the number of persons we interact with slow down transmission, reduce hospitalization and death, and protect our health systems from being overwhelmed. We must all continue to do our part to protect all people in Canada.”

Published on Nov. 30, 2021.