Canada is extending the requirement for travellers to provide a COVID-19 test to land border crossers as early as Feb. 15.
Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, told Canadians that the test must have been done within 72 hours, and it must be a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.
Travellers who come to the border without showing proof of a COVID-19 test could be refused entry or face fines of up to $3,000.
These measures are similar to the mandatory testing that was put in place for air travellers in January.
Travellers coming by plane will also need to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival, and will need to stay in a hotel for three days while awaiting results. Trudeau previously said that this would cost travellers an estimated $2,000. Hotels will be required to provide transportation to and from the airport and deliver food to the traveller’s room, according to instructions for hotels participating in the new measure on the government website. The starting date for this new measure has not yet been released.
These tests are in addition to the mandatory 14-day quarantine order on all incoming travellers. This two week period is inclusive of the three days air travellers are required to spend in a hotel. Travellers to Canada also need to download the ArriveCAN app.
Only four Canadian airports are accepting international travellers: Vancouver International Airport, Calgary International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Montreal-Trudeau International Airport. Canadian airlines have also cut services to Mexico and the Caribbean.
International travel was only responsible for 2 per cent of coronavirus cases in Canada thanks in part due to travel restrictions, Trudeau said previously. Travel has been significantly reduced to Canada, both by land and air. As of January 31, there was a year-over-year decrease of roughly 88 per cent in the number of land border crossings, and a 92 per cent decrease in air travel crossings, according to Canadian Border Services Agency travel statistics.
Foreign nationals are only allowed to enter Canada for essential reasons, or to reunite with family. Canada’s travel restrictions are currently in place until February 21, and are expected to be renewed. Canada’s borders have been subject to travel restrictions since March 2020.
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