Omicron: Canada bans travellers from Nigeria, Egypt, Malawi
Canada has banned travellers from Nigeria, Egypt, and Malawi over fears of the spread of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Recall that the World Health Organisation had last Friday classified B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern and labelled it Omicron. Since then it has been found in a number of countries and regions, including the confirmation of several travel-related cases in Canada.
In a news release on Tuesday, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, and the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety announced additional border measures to reduce the risk of the importation and transmission of COVID-19 and its variants in Canada related to international travel.
The Government of Canada said based on data from ongoing surveillance efforts and the latest public health advice, the Government of Canada is expanding the list of countries with entry prohibitions originally announced on November 26, 2021, to include Egypt, Nigeria, and Malawi.
“Effective tomorrow, foreign nationals who have been in any of these countries within the previous 14 days will not be permitted entry into Canada: Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
“Canadian citizens, permanent residents and people with status under the Indian Act, regardless of their vaccination status or having had a previous history of testing positive for COVID-19, who have been in any of these 10 countries in the previous 14 days, will be subject to enhanced pre-entry and arrival testing, screening, and quarantine measures.
“Moving forward, border testing surveillance will be adjusted based on the latest available evidence to further reduce the risk of importation of this variant. In the coming days, all fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air from departure points other than the United States will be subject to arrival testing. Fully vaccinated travellers will be required to quarantine while they await the results of their arrival test.
“Unvaccinated travellers, with right of entry to Canada, will continue to be tested on arrival and day 8 and quarantine for 14 days. However, those arriving by air will now be required to stay in a designated quarantine facility or other suitable location while they await the result of their on arrival test.
“The Government of Canada will continue to assess the evolving situation, monitor case data, and adjust border measures as required. The Government of Canada is working collaboratively with its provincial and territorial counterparts. While the impact of all variants continues to be monitored in Canada, vaccination in combination with public health and individual measures, is working to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and its variants,” it said.
The Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos said “We are taking quick action at our borders to mitigate travel-related importations of the Omicron variant. While our monitoring systems are working well, we now know that the Omicron variant is present in Canada. We need to remain vigilant in our own actions. Vaccination and simple public health measures such as masking and limiting the number of persons we interact with slow down transmission, reduce hospitalisation and death, and protect our health systems from being overwhelmed. We must all continue to do our part to protect all people in Canada.”