Travellers who return to Pearson Airport in Mississauga must first get COVID-19 test abroad

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Published December 17, 2021 at 1:11 pm

Starting next Tuesday, all travellers must once again get a COVID-19 molecular test before returning to Canada through Pearson Airport in Mississauga and all other airports.

The requirement, announced today by Ottawa in the midst of a dramatic surge in cases brought about by the new and highly transmissible Omicron variant, applies to all people travelling abroad, regardless of how long they’ve been out of the country.

In delivering the announcement from Ottawa, federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos rolled back an exemption put in place last month that allowed fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents who took trips abroad of less than 72 hours to return without having to show a negative test.

“As of Dec. 21, the requirement for pre-arrival testing will be in place again for trips of all duration…this pre-arrival test will need to be taken in a country other than Canada,” Duclos said, adding Ottawa’s approach is guided by a single core principle–prudence.

The health minister added that the latest battle with the ongoing pandemic has been psychologically and mentally difficult for everyone, “but now is not the time to give up.

“We must all do our part,” Duclos added.

Ottawa also announced today it’s lifting its controversial flight ban on travellers from South Africa and nine other African nations. That measure had brought about criticism for needlessly penalizing countries even though the Omicron variant was already spreading rapidly in Canada.

The ban, which also targeted Egypt, Malawi, Nigeria, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini, is being lifted beginning Sunday.

“It has served its purpose,” said Duclos.

Meanwhile, testing of all incoming international travellers, except those from the U.S., continues to ramp up at Pearson and other airports.

Duclos said testing capacity at all airports combined has been increased to where 21,000 arriving passengers are now being tested daily, as of today.

That number is up from 17,000 last Friday. The goal is to get to 23,000, Duclos said.

As the fight to keep the Omicron variant in check continues, Ottawa is still advising Canadians against any non-essential international travel.

 

 

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