Canada Will Temporarily Require A Negative COVID-19 Test For Travellers Arriving From China

The travel rule comes into effect January 5.

Assistant Editor, MTL Blog
COVID-19 testing counter at the Vancouver International Airport.

COVID-19 testing counter at the Vancouver International Airport.

On October 1, 2022, COVID-19 testing requirements, quarantine and isolation rules, and the mandatory use of the ArriveCan app for travellers were axed entirely by the Government of Canada. However, one COVID-19 travel rule is now making a comeback for travellers from China.

The federal government released a statement on Saturday announcing a temporary rule requiring travellers arriving on flights originating from mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao to provide a negative COVID-19 test before entering Canada.

"In response to the surge of COVID-19 in the People’s Republic of China and given the limited epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data available on these cases, the Government of Canada intends to put in place certain temporary health measures for air travellers entering Canada from China," the feds said.

China has seen a massive spike in COVID-19 cases over the last few weeks, with some estimates suggesting around 248 million people in the country were infected in the first 20 days of December alone. While these numbers have not been confirmed publicly by the country — which stopped reporting daily case numbers altogether last month — if true, this would represent the largest COVID-19 outbreak globally to date, according to CNN.

The travel rule will officially come into effect as of 12:01 a.m. EST on January 5 and will apply to all air travellers who are two years of age and older arriving on flights originating from China, Hong Kong or Macao, regardless of their nationality or vaccination status.

Travellers must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline prior to boarding, which must be done no more than two days before departure.

According to the Government of Canada, the test can be either a negative molecular (such as a PCR test) or a negative antigen test, provided the latter comes with documentation proving it was administered or monitored by an approved provider.

"Passengers who tested positive more than 10 days before their departure flight, but no more than 90 days, can provide the airline with documentation of their prior positive, in place of a negative test result," the statement adds.

The new requirement will be put in place for 30 days and will then be reassessed as more data becomes available.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Mike Chaar
Assistant Editor, MTL Blog
Mike Chaar is an Assistant Editor for MTL Blog focused on recalls in Canada and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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