Canada Drops Pre-Arrival COVID-19 PCR test for fully vaccinated travellers


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Canada has decided to scrap the pre-arrival COVID-19 PCR test requirements for fully vaccinated travellers by the end of the month, the health minister said on Tuesday.

As of February 28, 2022, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer be required to take a molecular COVID-19 test (I.e., PCR test) within 72 hours prior to entering Canada.

“Today I’m announcing we are easing our border measures,” federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Tuesday in Ottawa. “It is time to adjust our approach.”

Travellers will still be required to take a pre-arrival test, but can opt for a rapid antigen test, which is typically cheaper and has faster results. The rapid test must be approved by their country of origin and must be administered by a laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth service. Travellers who choose to take a rapid antigen test must do so, no more than 24 hours before their scheduled flight or entering Canada.

Travellers can still choose to take a pre-arrival PCR test; the test must be taken up to 72 hours before entering Canada.

Children less than 12 years of age, who are not fully vaccinated and are travelling with fully vaccinated adults, will no longer be required to isolate from schools, camps, day-cares, or other crowded areas upon arrival.

Randomized PCR COVID-19 testing will still be in place, but individuals who are randomly selected will no longer be required to quarantine while waiting for their results.

Unvaccinated individuals will still be required to, upon arrival, take a molecular COVID-19 test and quarantine for 14 days.

Duclos made the announcement alongside federal Minister of Transportation Omar Alghabra, Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino, Minister of Tourism Randy Boissonnault and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc.

“All measures are subject to re-evaluation,” Duclos said. “It’s important to note that if the epidemiological situation continues to improve, if hospitalizations continue to diminish and Canadians continue to get their booster shots, further easing of travel restrictions could be considered in the coming weeks.”

Canada has also lifted the non-essential travel advisory that was put in place in December in response to the Omicron variant and, international flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at all remaining Canadian airports that are designated by the Canada Border Services Agency to receive international passenger flights.

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