Canada to Require Covid Testing for International Travelers

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Canada is stepping up its virus response at the border by requiring all international travelers to present a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government plans new rules requiring people entering the country by plane to show evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than three days before arrival, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced Wednesday at a news conference in Ottawa. Details of the new regulations will be announced after consultations with airlines, they said.

International travelers were already required to quarantine for 14 days after arrival. The testing requirement is meant to add another layer of protection at a time when many Canadians typically would be traveling to warmer destinations during winter. Public health officials have been advising Canadians to travel only for essential reasons, but Blair said he expected many people to ignore the advisories.

“We do believe there is some efficacy in a pre-boarding test to add to the very strict regime of quarantining we have in place,” Blair said.

The new requirement comes after revelations that at least one top public official, Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips, had left the country to vacation in the Caribbean despite his own government’s warnings against traveling. Phillips, who’s currently in Saint Barthelemy, apologized on Tuesday for the trip.

“I deeply regret traveling over the holidays. It was a mistake, and I apologize,” Phillips said in a written statement.

Canada is grappling with a fresh wave of virus cases that have prompted lockdowns in major cities in the country in recent weeks. There’s also growing unease about new strains of the virus that have surfaced in Canada.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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