Pearson Airport in Mississauga restricting travel from southern Africa after new COVID-19 variant identified


Published November 26, 2021 at 2:28 pm

Pearson Airport in Mississauga and other airports across the country are now restricting entry into Canada after it was revealed earlier today that a new, potentially more transmissible COVID-19 variant has been identified in seven countries in southern Africa. 

The federal government announced this afternoon that, effective immediately, all foreign nationals who have travelled through South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini or Mozambique in the last two weeks will be banned from entering Canada.

Ottawa said Canadians and permanent residents visiting those countries will be allowed to return home, but they must get tested for the virus twice before doing so.

Because there are no direct flights into Canada from that part of Africa, homebound Canadian travellers must get a COVID-19 negative test done in transit via a third city/country before continuing on home to Canada. 

Once on Canadian soil, they must get an arrival test and wait for the results. If negative, they must then isolate for 14 days at home.

Most Canadian travellers to Africa transit through airports in the Middle East, Europe and the U.S. before arriving home.

Federal Transport Minister and Mississauga-Centre MP Omar Alghabra said the restrictions are effective immediately and will continue until at least Jan. 31.  

“We’re acting quickly and decisively…to prevent any new variants from being introduced and spread in Canada,” said Alghabra, noting the government will continue to monitor data from around the world on the new variant. 

Other countries around the world have taken similar steps today after it was revealed the new strain of the virus, named Omicron by the World Health Organization, may pose a threat worldwide. 

The new strain was first detected by scientists in South Africa and, according to the Associated Press, cases have been identified in Israel, Hong Kong and Belgium. 

Canadians who have already returned from that part of Africa in the last two weeks are being told to immediately self-isolate and get tested. And any Canadians who were planning a trip to that area are being urged to cancel. 

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