Earlier this week, Canadian Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos announced that Canada will begin to ease Covid-19 testing regulations.
As of February 28, fully vaccinated international travelers will no longer need to undergo a PCR test to fly. Instead they will be able to opt for a rapid antigen test, which is both a cheaper and quicker alternative.
Canada will also reimpose random PCR testing for vaccinated travelers, said Duclos in a briefing this past Tuesday. Those who are selected and fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine while they await test results.
Previously, travelers five years and older arriving by land or air were required to show a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours after arrival, regardless of vaccination status.
“These changes are possible not only because we have passed the peak of Omicron, but because Canadians across the country have listened to the science and to experts,” said Duclos.
According to Reuters, about 80% of Canadians are fully vaccinated, while about 40% also took the booster dose.
View this post on Instagram
The global travel advisory for Canadians is also urging citizens to take precautions when traveling. This announcement is a departure from their previous stance in which they recommended against non-essential travel.
“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,” said the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable industry group via a statement.
Currently, only those with a completed one – or – two – dose vaccination series, with the final dose completed at least 15 days before entering the country will be considered vaccinated. A booster shot is not required to enter the country.
Unvaccinated travelers are only allowed to enter the country under certain circumstances. Those who are unvaccinated will have to test after arrival and quarantine for 14 days.