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PCR Tests Are Back For Travellers Returning To Canada — Even For Trips Less Than 72 Hours

Omicron strikes again.

Associate Editor
PCR Tests Are Back For Travellers Returning To Canada — Even For Trips Less Than 72 Hours

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."

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.

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