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December 17, 2021 – Federal government update on COVID-19

Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the federal government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mandatory PCR test for all types of travel

Federal Health Minister Jean Yves-Duclos has announced that as of December 21, pre-arrival testing will again be a requirement to enter Canada, regardless of length of trip or traveller vaccine status.

Canadians will have to show proof of a recent negative molecular (PCR) test to enter the country. The test must be administered in the last country visited before arrival in Canada. PCR tests can cost up to $300 per person.

The government also announced that testing capacity in Canada’s airports has been expanded, from 11,000 tests per day to some 21,000 as of today.

We remind you that as of December 15, the federal government is officially advising Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country.

Lifting of the travel ban that applied to 10 African countries

The ban on travel to Canada by foreign nationals from Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe will be lifted as of 11:59 p.m. on December 18.

The strict measures applying to Canadians and permanent residents flying in from those countries will also be rolled back.

Federal authorities have decided these measures are no longer necessary, since community spread is growing rapidly in Canada.

Epidemiological situation in Canada

The seven-day moving average of new COVID-19 cases in Canada has reached 5,000.

This represents an increase of 45% compared with the previous seven days.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said that Omicron is the fastest-spreading variant seen to date and that there is an urgent need to “slow the rate the spread immediately in an effort to head off as much of the acceleration as we can.”