Vaccinated air-travellers should be prepared now for on-arrival testing and isolation, health minister says

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People travel at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic on December 3, 2021 in Toronto.Nathan Dennett / The Canadian Press

Air travelers returning to Canada from outside the United States should be prepared to go into isolation pending a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos warned, even as it It is not clear when the new rule will go into effect. all airports.

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“All passengers should expect to be tested on arrival and be prepared to isolate,” Mr Duclos said at a news conference in Ottawa on Friday. “It will take a few days for us to test all the targeted passengers. But we are rapidly increasing our capacity and testing more and more passengers every day.”

Mr Duclos said the new rule was already being implemented, but that neither he nor Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam were able to say which airports are already asking passengers to determine the outcome. Pending are subject to trial upon arrival. Airports have been randomly testing on arrival passengers for months, and Mr Duclos said testing capacity at airports has increased by 60 percent since Wednesday.

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The new rule was announced on Tuesday and immediately caused confusion for travelers as it came with few details on the timing of the rollout or how it would apply to passengers who had traveled to the US or Canada before reaching their final destination. Layover done.

“It’s quite complicated and I think we’re going to have to put some tools on the website,” Dr Tam said. “So that travelers can actually explore it like we’ve done in the past with all the border requirements.”

US requires Canadians, other foreign travelers to obtain COVID-19 tests before entry

Omicron COVID-19 variant three times more likely to cause reinfection, new data shows

As of Friday morning, air travelers still weren’t expected to turn aside for vaccinations on the government’s travel website.

Mr Duclos said the government is focusing on passengers arriving by air, so if Canadians land in the US from a third country and then drive into Canada they can be tested and quarantined. But the rule will not be universally applicable.

He also said that fully vaccinated passengers returning to Canada with a layover would be allowed to self-isolate at their last stop and wait for test results upon their arrival, before proceeding to their final destination. Mr Duclos said the test would be given upon arrival of the first airport passengers in Canada.

Additionally, he added that travelers who have been to a third country other than the US, but who fly from the US en route to Canada, will still need to comply with requirements for isolation pending an arrival test and results.

The on-arrival test and isolate rule were part of the third change to international travel rules, unveiled over the past two weeks, with both easing some restrictions while tightening others. The rules also differ depending on the region you are traveling through. The government says it is based on science, but one of the government’s own advisers told The Granthshala Friday that “science does not support different rules for different areas”.

“With Omicron present in so many countries, we must have a single, coherent framework for international travel,” said Irfan Dhalla, co-chair of the government’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel and vice president of physician quality at Unity. Health Toronto.

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