OTTAWA — Canadians should carefully consider any future decisions on traveling abroad, even after the federal government removed a global advisory asking them to avoid non-essential travel, health officials said. warned on Friday.
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the government would provide more specific information about the severity of COVID-19 in different countries to help Canadians decide whether they should consider traveling .
“The pandemic is very much alive. There are certainly still risks involved in travel,” Tam said on Friday. She said it was too early for the government to recommend a “blanket” on all travel, but said it was important to be fully vaccinated and to assess the level of the epidemic in any potential destination.
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“Now is just not the time to go anywhere freely.”
The government announced on Thursday it was removing global advice asking Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country, but it is continuing to advise against travel on cruise ships.
The global travel advisory was issued in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said Friday that Canadians should ask themselves a number of questions before making plans to travel abroad.
Njoo urged Canadians to assess the “epidemiological status” of COVID-19 in any potential travel destination “as there is a lot of variation between countries and even between countries, as we have seen here. Saw it in Canada.
They should also look at the level of vaccination rates in that country “as this is an indication of what may be community transmission in that area.”
Travelers to Canada should also ask themselves what exactly they want to do when they travel to another country. “For example, if you’re going on a solitary nature walk, that’s one thing. But if you’re thinking of going on a cruise with a lot of people in an enclosed space, it’s another thing, Naju said.
He said Canadians should also weigh “the culture for personal protective measures” based on where they are planning to travel, such as whether masks are typically worn or not.
“We know that the situation is not the same in all parts of the world. There are regions in the world that are still suffering from the dire consequences of COVID-19,” he said.
Canada’s government website now shows advice for each destination country, as it did before the pandemic.
It also urges Canadians to ensure they are fully immunized against the novel coronavirus before traveling abroad, and to be aware of the COVID-19 situation at their destination.
The move comes as the federal government announced it had reached an agreement with provinces on a new national vaccine passport for domestic and international travel.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that provinces and territories have agreed to adjust their own vaccine passports to give them the same look, feel and safeguards based on the international standard for so-called smart health cards .
Many, including Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Nunavut, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Yukon, have already begun distributing proof of vaccination documents.
Canada last month opened its borders to non-essential international travelers who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine approved by Health Canada, and fully vaccinated travelers from the United States in August.
The US government recently announced that its land borders will reopen to non-essential Canadian travelers on November 8.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 22, 2021