U.S.-bound travellers from Mississauga’s Pearson Airport face more stringent COVID-19 rules

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Published December 2, 2021 at 1:46 pm

Starting next week, all international travellers arriving by air in the U.S. must have had COVID-19 tests completed within 24 hours of their departure. (Photo: Unsplash)

Starting as early as Monday, all U.S.-bound travellers flying out of Pearson Airport in Mississauga must get tested for COVID-19 within 24 hours of their departure. 

The new restriction applies to all in-bound international air passengers to the U.S., regardless of vaccination status, and is part of a larger series of tightened travel rules announced late yesterday by U.S. President Joe Biden in efforts to limit the spread of the new Omicron variant of the virus. 

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

News out of the U.S. did not mention land borders or whether fully vaccinated Canadians driving across the border would have to show test results. 

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. It’s been less than a month since the U.S. lifted its restrictions on fully vaccinated non-essential travellers seeking to enter the country by land from Canada and Mexico. 

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 two days ago that, effective immediately, 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.   

Additionally, all foreign nationals who have travelled through any of 10 identified African countries, where Omicron was first identified last week, 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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