Travellers who head to the U.S. via Pearson Airport in Mississauga face stricter COVID-19 rules

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Published December 6, 2021 at 12:26 pm

Starting today, travellers headed to the U.S. via Pearson Airport in Mississauga face more stringent COVID-19 rules.

All U.S.-bound travellers flying out of Pearson Airport in Mississauga must now get tested for COVID-19 within one to just under two days of their departure. 

The new restriction, which takes effect today, applies to all in-bound international air passengers to the U.S., regardless of vaccination status. 

It’s part of a larger series of tightened travel rules announced late last week by U.S. President Joe Biden in efforts to limit the spread of the new Omicron variant of the virus, which was identified nearly two weeks ago in South Africa and neighbouring countries.  

Previously, air travellers heading to the United States could get tested up to 72 hours prior to departure.  

The additional restrictions announced by Biden demonstrate how travel rules can change in an instant depending on the behaviour of the virus, both closer to home and around the globe.  

The latest variant, Omicron, so named by the World Health Organization, has health officials concerned because it seems significantly more transmissible than even the Delta variant.  

The Canadian government, meanwhile, has exempted incoming U.S. visitors from its stricter travel rules—at least for now.  

Ottawa announced last week that all travellers arriving at Pearson and other Canadian airports, except for those arriving from the U.S., must take a COVID-19 test before leaving the airport.  

That applies to all travellers, whether they’re fully vaccinated or not. And they’ll have to isolate while awaiting results.    

The Canadian government and airports have been slow to roll out the new testing rules, as logistics have proven troublesome.

Ottawa said on Friday that it’s “ramping up” efforts at Pearson and other airports, with sights set on eventually testing all arriving travellers. 

Additionally, all foreign nationals who have travelled through any of 10 identified African countries, where Omicron was first identified, in the last two weeks will be banned from entering Canada.  

The list of countries includes Egypt, Nigeria, Malawi, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini and Mozambique. 

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