Canada should abolish its pre-entry COVID-19 test for its citizens, travel experts have been insisting recently.
In this regard, Canada’s airlines have called on Canadian authorities to put an end to the rule requiring travelers who have finished their immunization process coming from outside the US to test on arrival for Coronavirus.
In addition, concerns have been raised regarding the rule requiring Canadians who travel outside the country to provide valid proof of negative COVID PCR test results before boarding an inbound flight home, VisaGuide.World reports.
Authorities in Canada do not accept rapid antigen tests for pre-entry, while there are problems with backlogs of PCR tests, as reported by National Post.
The COVID test must be taken within 72 hours of departure or not older than 72 hours upon their arrival at a land border. Such a rule became effective on December 21 in order to prevent another increase in the number of infections.
All persons who reach Canada without holding a valid proof of COVID test will be permitted to enter; however, they risk being subject to fines of up to $5,000 or face criminal prosecution.
Canadian media reported that citizens of Canada have found themselves stuck in the US due to testing shortages or results taking longer than 72 hours.
Some believe that such a rule needs to be revisited. According to a public health expert in Canada, Dr. Irfan Dhalla, “it would be useful to revisit travel-related testing and quarantine requirements, taking into account the prevalence of Omicron and testing capacity in both the US and Canada, among other factors.”
At the same time, Virologist Dr. Rodney Russell stressed that it is not appropriate to deny a Canadian citizen re-entry “unless for criminal reasons. If the home can’t be an asylum for Canadians, where would it be?”
In order to be permitted to enter Canada, travelers must be fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus. However, some exemptions are applied, but travelers who fall into the exemption category must follow testing and quarantine rules upon arrival.
Since January 15, authorities in Canada require travelers who need to enter Canada for essential purposes to be fully vaccinated against the virus, while travelers planning to enter Canada for non-essential purposes from other countries already have been required to be fully immunized in order to reach Canada.
According to the data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), Canada has reported 2,822,614 cases of COVID-19 infection and 31,827 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
At the same time, some regions in Canada have reported an increased number of infection cases with the Omicron variant; therefore, the country’s government has tightened its travel rules in order to prevent another upsurge in the number of infections.
Even amid the ongoing pandemic, the data provided by Statistic Canada revealed that travel to this country in December marked an increase compared to 2020 figures.
The same showed that compared to December 2020 figures, over ten times as many non-resident travelers entered Canadian airports in December 2021.