Canada has banned entry for foreign nationals from three nations after concerns over the omicron variant of COVID-19 after the WHO labeled it as a variant of concern on November 26, 2021.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said: “We are taking quick action at our borders to mitigate travel-related importations of the Omicron variant. 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” he said.
The Entry Bans
Based on data from ongoing surveillance and the latest public health advice, the Canadian government said it’s expanding the list of nations with entry prohibitions announced on November 26, 2021, to include Egypt, Malawi, and Nigeria.
Canada has already banned travelers from the following nations:
- South Africa
From the 1st of December, travelers who have been in any of those countries within the previous 14 days are not permitted to enter Canada.
All arrivals, except for arrivals from the USA, need to be tested on arrival at the airport and wait in self-quarantine until results are ready.
Unfortunately, Canada’s PCR test times are currently slow, and wait times are around 12-72 hours. That’s making travel very challenging for Canadians.
Incoming travelers from outside Canada will also need to do a 72-hour PCR test before departure at their own cost. However, the Canadian government will pay for the PCR test on arrival.
Incoming travelers will also need proof of vaccination upon entry to avoid further restrictions. Without proof of full vaccination, travelers will have to get tested upon arrival and on day eight. They will also have to quarantine for 14 days.
According to Transport Minister Omar Alghbara, the testing requirement will apply to fully vaccinated Canadian travelers. “Canadians will need to stop and obtain valid results in a third country before entering Canada,” Alghbara added.
Omicron Cases In Canada
Canada detected its first omicron cases in Ontario on Sunday and Quebec on Monday. The provinces of Alberta and British Columbia detected their first cases from travelers coming from Nigeria.
According to Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, the Alberta case also traveled through the Netherlands and was asymptomatic.
Travel Bans Worldwide
Because of the infancy of the omicron variant, many nations worldwide are implementing travel bans on certain nations and some are even closing their borders.
Japan closed its border this week over omicron variant concerns. Initially, Japan tightened entry restrictions on people arriving from South Africa and eight other nations. However, the nation has now shut its border to all foreigners.
The EU has banned travel from South Africa and other nations in the area over omicron variant concerns. EU countries should act “very swiftly, decisively and united,” Von der Leyen said.
“All air travel to these countries should be suspended until we have a clear understanding about the danger posed about this new variant and travelers returning from these regions should respect strict quarantine rules,” she stated.
The United States has restricted travel from South Africa and 7 other African nations this week. From Monday, only U.S citizens and legal residents within these nations can enter the U.S.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com