Saturday 4 February 2023

Canada will ease COVID-19 test requirements for travelers

As of Feb. 28, negative results from antigen tests will be accepted from fully vaccinated travelers traveling to Canada, taken no more than 24 hours prior to departure

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Q TRAVEL – Canada is easing some of its testing and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers.

As of Feb. 28, negative results from rapid antigen tests taken no more than 24 hours prior to departure will be accepted from fully vaccinated travelers arriving in Canada, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Tuesday.

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Currently, a negative result from a molecular (PCR) test taken within 72 hours of departing for Canada is required.

Antigen tests are typically cheaper and faster than molecular tests, and more widely available. The antigen test must be administered by a laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth service, Duclos said. Rapid tests administered at home will not be sufficient.

Travelers to Canada must keep in mind that random testing for vaccinated travelers entering Canada will continue at points of entry, but the government will drop the requirement that fully vaccinated travelers who have been outside Canada or the U.S. must quarantine while awaiting their test results.

Also, the global travel advisory for Canadians is also being changed. Previously the government recommended against all non-essential travel, and now it is only urging citizens to take precautions. “I want to underscore that Canadians should still exercise caution when traveling abroad,” Duclos told a news conference.

“Though today’s announcement brings us one step closer to where our industry needs to be, in requiring pre-departure rapid antigen tests, the government missed an opportunity to align with other international jurisdictions that removed pre-departure test requirements for fully vaccinated travelers,” the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable industry group said in a statement.

In addition, Reuters reported that several provinces, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and on Monday Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, have announced a relaxation of restrictions imposed during the pandemic as coronavirus infection rates fall.

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