Canada adds 3 countries to Omicron travel ban

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OTTAWA – Canada is adding Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt to the list of African countries from which it is banning travelers amid concerns about the spread of the Omicron version of COVID-19.

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Star has confirmed the latest addition to its previous list of seven countries from which travelers will not be allowed entry into Canada, which was announced on Friday. Other measures are expected to be announced at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Canada expanded its travel ban as the Netherlands acknowledged on Tuesday that the Omicron variant had reached that country before being recognized in South Africa last week.

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A source said the federal cabinet approved the new moves at a meeting on Tuesday morning.

There were several other options on the table, including a response to demands from Ontario and Quebec that Ottawa implement mandatory COVID-19 molecular testing for all passengers arriving at Canadian airports.

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After the cabinet meeting, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos would only say that any decision would be announced later.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino also would not comment on border measures.

Mendicino told reporters that “the best available scientific and medical evidence that is being presented to the government in real time” will inform its decisions.

Tonda MacCharles is an Ottawa-based reporter who covers federal politics for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @tondamacc
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