Need for negative PCR test to enter Canada still under review despite U.S. dropping requirement

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Ottawa – with clock countdown Until the US border reopens to fully vaccinated Canadians, health officials have confirmed that the requirement for negative PCR tests for people arriving in Canada is not changing – yet.

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As the US unveiled its plan to ease land-border restrictions, travelers and business groups on both sides of the border have been pressing Ottawa to eliminate the need for an expensive COVID-19 test to cross into Canada. are.

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said on Friday that there is evidence that some people arriving in this country are testing positive – even though they have received the full course of vaccine against the virus.

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“This is a live issue right now. As always, we continue to look at the scientific evidence and results of our current testing regime at the border, which includes requiring a negative PCR test to be taken within 72 hours before arrival in Canada. That’s interesting that, based on the data we’ve been able to analyze to date, there’s still a certain percentage – about 0.2 percent I think the last time I looked at the data – fully immunizations coming to Canada. passengers have tested positive for COVID-19,” he explained.


November 8 to reopen US border to fully vaccinated Canadians


“Then the question is, is it good or bad? It’s less than one percent, but if you look at the number of people coming into Canada as a percentage, the actual real number of people coming in, obviously, So I think right now, it’s definitely another layer of security, it’s something that exists at the moment, and we continue to look at the evidence.”

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Njoo admits that no system is fool proof, but says it all comes down to “looking at things from a risk perspective”.

The cost of getting a PCR test done for travel varies. The cost of at least one lab in Whatcom County in Washington state is about $180 USD – which is about $223 CAD. Traveling generally requires appointments to take such a test, but again, the process may vary.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam on Friday stressed the need for vigilance. She reminded Canadians that we continue to deal with the fourth wave of the pandemic.

“We are in a situation in Canada where our health systems are still very fragile. We need to take a precautionary stance over the next few times, and we will continue to evaluate the situation,” she said during a COVID-19 briefing on Friday. “Some of the most important things we are trying to achieve are keeping kids in school, hiring people, and keeping COVID-19 levels down as our vaccinations… Used to be.”

Tam continued to put forward several other ideas, such as the need for a wider-scale booster being reviewed, and that it is important for Canadians to be careful.

She promised to continue talks with the US Centers for Disease Control and other officials “to see what is appropriate in the trajectory going forward.”

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland on Thursday all but rejected the idea of ​​eliminating the need for COVID-19 testing to enter Canada, urging Canadians not to give up in their fight against the pandemic.

The US border is set to reopen to fully vaccinated travelers on November 8, more than 18 months after recreational travel was disrupted by the pandemic.

The government has said that there are vaccines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization Will be accepted, which means people with AstraZeneca will be among those allowed to go to the States. While there are still questions about those receiving mixed doses, Bloomberg reports that they will also be allowed in.

-With files from Canadian Press

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