Omicron strikes again.
Almost a month after Canada scrapped PCR tests for short trips out of the country, the federal government is stepping back on the decision in response to the spread of the Omicron variant.
In a press conference on Friday, federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced that, as of Tuesday, the government is "reintroducing the requirement for a pre-arrival PCR test result for all travellers leaving the country for less than 72 hours."
Omicron is a real and serious threat - and it\u2019s here in Canada. If you haven\u2019t gotten vaccinated yet, do that now. And if you\u2019ve gotten both shots and are now eligible for your booster, please, get it.— Justin Trudeau (@Justin Trudeau) 1639683103
This means all travellers will once again be required to take a molecular COVID-19 test before returning to Canada — no matter the duration of their trip. This pre-arrival test needs to be taken in a country other than Canada, said Duclos.
Since the Omicron variant is now spreading via community transmission in most countries around the world, Duclos said that, as of Saturday, Canada will also lift its "specific measures for travellers returning from the 10 countries initially listed."
In late November, Canada banned non-Canadian travellers who visited certain African countries and imposed stricter measures for Canadians who had been to those countries in the previous 14 days.
"While we recognize that this initial emergency measure created controversy, we believe it was a necessary measure to slow the arrival of Omicron in Canada at a time of uncertainty and unknowns. Given the current situation, this measure has served its purpose and is no longer necessary," Duclos said.
Duclos also told Canadians that the government's approach is "guided by one core principle: prudence."
"We are all very aware that any increase in hospitalizations at this time would put our already fragile health care system and our health care workers under further strain," he said.
On Thursday, Canada reportedly saw its highest single-day COVID-19 case count in seven months.
The Canadian government currently advises Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside the country.
This article’s right-hand cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
- Experts Told Us How Omicron Could Affect Quebec — Here's The ... ›
- If You're 12 Or Older And Not Vaccinated, Forget About Flights & VIA ... ›
- Travel Restrictions: Canada Announced New Updates On What ... ›
- COVID-19 Arrival Testing In Canadian Airports Needs To Stop, Say Air Canada And Others - MTL Blog ›