Canada is requiring travelers to get a negative Covid-19 test before being allowed into the country, the government said on Wednesday.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests must be performed within three days of boarding a flight, officials told a press conference.
Upon arrival, travelers must be quarantined for 14 days.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc said the new measure – along with increased surveillance at Canadian airports – will be implemented “quickly” but has not given an exact date.
It comes after a new strain is identified in the UK and has already spread to Canada.
At the same time, Ontario Treasury Secretary Rod Phillips was publicly accused this week of spending a family vacation in the Caribbean when Canada’s most populous province was locked down and new daily Covid-19 cases hit record highs across Canada.
“While most Canadians have followed advice about non-essential travel, some Canadians still travel for non-essential reasons. This is deeply worrying,” said Howard Njoo, assistant chief public health officer.
“We have to repeat that this is not the time to travel,” he said.
Only about two percent of Covid-19 cases in Canada have been traced back to recent travel.
The borders have been closed to most non-essential travel since March, and last week Canada stopped all flights from the UK via the new virus variant.
Days later, Ottawa confirmed the first cases of the particularly infectious coronavirus variant in Canada.
Meanwhile, Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford has criticized Phillips for vacationing outside Canada when officials are pushing against travel, and sent him home.
“I have let the minister know that his decision to travel is completely unacceptable and that it will not be tolerated again – by him or a member of our cabinet and caucus,” Ford said in a statement.
“I also told the minister that I needed him back in the country immediately.”
As of Wednesday, Canada reported 571,070 Covid-19 cases, including 15,440 deaths.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)