The Canadian government has expanded a travel ban on aircraft from the Southern Africa region, which includes South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Namibia, just two days after enacting it. Additional severe border restrictions have also been imposed by the government to prevent the possibility of Covid-19 and its variations, such as Omicron, being imported into Canada.
During the pandemic, Canada maintained its borders open to overseas students, but the arrival of a new Covid-19 variation, Omicron, which the WHO has designated as a variant of concern, has prompted many governments to close their borders to international travellers.
According to CTV News, Omicron has been found in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, which should be of concern to foreign students in Canada. In reaction to the Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa by scientists, governments such as the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Canada, among others, have put travel bans on students and tourists from numerous African countries.
Several Omicron cases have already been reported in Canada. Six Omicron cases had been reported in the country as of November 30. Several African countries, notably South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt, have now been barred from entering the country.
Canada announced that foreign nationals who have been in any of these countries within the previous 14 days will not be permitted entry into Canada:
- South Africa
The government announced that unvaccinated travellers, with the right of entry to Canada, will continue to be tested on arrival and day eight and quarantine for 14 days. However, incoming air travellers 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,” said the government. “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.”
Citizens, permanent residents, and persons with Indian Act status are still allowed to enter the nation. If they have been in any of the above 10 countries in the preceding 14 days, regardless of their vaccination status or a previous history of testing positive for Covid-19, they will be subject to increased pre-entry and arrival testing, screening, and quarantine measures.
“Moving forward, border testing surveillance will be altered based on the latest available evidence to further limit the danger of importation of this variation,” the Canadian government stated, indicating its goal to be able to change border procedures swiftly. The federal government is cooperating with its provincial and territorial equivalents.
While the impact of all variants is still being assessed in Canada, immunization, in conjunction with public health and individual initiatives, is helping to slow the spread of Covid-19 and its variants.