How the New Omicron Variant is Expected to Affect Travel

The new Omicron variant's arrival has scared people, and they have become more alert than before. Even the Canadian government has swung into action. The government is restricting travel from several African nations and is seriously considering boosters. Read on to know more about how the new Omicron variant is expected to affect travel.

In a press conference held on Tuesday, Jean-Yves Duclos, our Foreign Health Minister, stated that foreign nationals from Egypt, Nigeria, and Malawi who have been to those nations in the last two weeks wouldn't be allowed to enter Canada. It is done in addition to seven other countries that the Canadian government barred on Friday. The list includes South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, and Lesotho.

Permanent residents and Canadians, and people who have a right to return to Canada and have transited through the said countries over the last two weeks, will need to be tested at the airport and quarantined until they get the tests' results, said Duclos.

Transport Minister Omar Alghbara highlighted that the testing requirement for Canadians and permanent residents would even apply to fully vaccinated people. The COVID-19 tests that were conducted in the 10 nations will not be accepted, he said. Alghbara added, "Canadians will need to stop and obtain valid results in a third country before entering Canada."

The testing requirement will also be expanded to include anyone coming to Canada from a foreign nation except for the USA. The people who arrive from any country except the US will need to be tested at the airport and need to isolate and wait until their test results are known, said Duclos. This rule is also applicable for non-vaccinated travelers.

Speaking about the cost factor, Duclos said that the federal government would cover the costs of the tests. The same rule applies to the pre-departure test a person must take before leaving Canada.

Duclos also said, "We are taking quick action at our borders to mitigate travel-related importations of the Omicron variant.

Time for a Booster?

As Omicron is highly mutated, the Canadian government has asked the National Advisory Committee on Immunization or NACI to share an update regarding its directive on booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.

As of November 30, 2021, six cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in the country.

Tracking the Variants

The Canadian government has already taken steps to boost its capacity to track and find different variants of concern. In February 2021, the government of Canada invested $53 million in an integrated Variants of Concern Strategy.

The Canadian government is also working with provinces and territories along with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research on surveillance, sequencing, and scientific efforts and the Canadian COVID Genomics Network to detect known and potentially emerging variants of the deadly virus variants of concern. Read about the other measures here.

Even US President Joe Biden has tightened the travel rules. Know about the steps he has taken over here.


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