Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

People travel at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, December 3, 2021.Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press

Air travelers returning to Canada from outside the United States should be ready to go into isolation pending a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival, warned Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, though it is still unclear when the new rule will apply at. all airports.

“All travelers should expect to be tested on arrival and should be ready to isolate,” said Mr. Duclos at a press conference in Ottawa on Friday. “It will take a few days before we are able to test all targeted travelers. But we are increasing our capacity rapidly and testing more and more travelers every day.”

Mr. Duclos said the new rule is already being introduced, but neither he nor Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam was able to say which airports are already asking travelers subject to the arrival test to isolate themselves until the result awaited. Airports have been randomly testing passengers on arrival for several months, and Mr. Duclos said since Wednesday that test capacity at airports has increased by 60 percent.

The new rule was announced Tuesday and immediately created confusion for travelers because it came with few details about the time of rollout, or how it would apply to travelers who have stopovers in the U.S. or Canada before reaching their final destination.

“It’s quite complicated and I think we’ll have to put some tools up on the website,” said Dr. Tame. “So travelers can actually figure out what we’ve done in the past with all the boundary requirements.”

The United States requires Canadians and other foreign travelers to receive the COVID-19 test the day before entry

The Omicron COVID-19 variant is three times more likely to cause reinfections, new data show

As of Friday morning, the government’s travel website for vaccinated air travelers still did not say they should expect to isolate themselves.

Mr. Duclos said the government is focused on travelers arriving by plane, so if Canadians land in the U.S. from a third country and then drive into Canada, they could be tested and asked to isolate, but the rule will not be applied universally.

He also said that fully vaccinated travelers returning to Canada with a stay in Canada before going to their final destination will be allowed to proceed to their final stop to isolate themselves and wait for their test result upon arrival. Mr. Duclos said the test would be given at the first airport travelers arrive at in Canada.

In addition, he said that passengers who have been to a third country other than the United States but who are flying through the United States en route to Canada must still follow the requirements for an arrival test and isolation until the result is the result.

The arrival test and the isolation rule were part of a third amendment to international travel rules, all of which were revealed in the last two weeks, both easing some restrictions and tightening others. The rules are also different depending on the region you are traveling from. The government says this is based on science, but one of the government’s own advisers told The Globe on Friday that “science does not support” different rules for different regions.

“With Omicron present in so many countries, we should have a single, coherent framework for international travel,” said Irfan Dhalla, co-chair of the Government’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel and Vice President of Medical Quality, at Unity Health Toronto.

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