Dec 17, 2021 - World

Canada to reimpose COVID testing requirement for travelers

Travelers at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021.

Travelers at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada on Dec. 16. Photo: Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Canada will retighten its border starting Dec. 21 and require travelers who are returning to the country to show proof of a negative PCR test, the government announced on Friday.

Driving the news: Canada's testing requirement was eased on Nov. 30 but will return now that the Omicron COVID-19 variant is spreading extremely quickly across the globe.

  • Chief public health officer of Canada Theresa Tam said in a press conference that there have been close to 350 cases of Omicron reported across the country.
  • She added that the "looming crisis" has the potential to overwhelm the country's “already strained and fragile” health care system.

The big picture: Travelers must obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR test result in the visiting country within 72 hours before the scheduled departure time back to Canada.

  • Canada also announced that it will lift its travel ban for people returning from 10 African countries that was imposed last month, effective Saturday at 11:59 p.m, Buffalo News reports.

What they're saying: "I know the record numbers we’re seeing in parts of the country are scary - but I also know we can get through this, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Go deeper