Canada to Require Negative COVID-19 Tests for All People Entering

Vancouver International Airport

All travelers flying to Canada will have to test negative for COVID-19 prior to entering the country starting this week.

The new rule, which goes into effect on Jan. 7, will require all passengers age 5 and older to show a negative PCR COVID-19 test before boarding a flight to Canada, Transport Canada announced last week. The test must be taken within 72 hours of the flight departure.

The testing, however, does not exempt individuals from the country’s mandatory 14-day quarantine. Those who violate the quarantine are subject to potential jail time or $750,000 in fines.

“The COVID-19 situation continues to show its unpredictable and rapidly changing nature. We, therefore, need to implement additional quick and effective actions to protect the health and safety of all Canadians,” François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, said in a statement. “We still strongly advise against non-essential travel outside Canada as the likelihood of sudden restrictions and additional requirements during the pandemic may result in travellers facing difficult and stressful circumstances while abroad. We all need to do our part so that we can get through this challenging time together.”

Marc Garneau, the country’s minister of transport, said the new testing requirements “will provide another layer of protection for Canadians as we continue to assess public health risks and work to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.”

The requirement comes just weeks after Canada banned travel from the United Kingdom following the emergence of a new, and potentially more contagious, strain of coronavirus there. It also follows the extension of the land border closure between the United States and Canada, which remains shut until at least Jan. 21.

The province of Ontario, where both the capital of Ottawa and the country’s largest city Toronto are located, entered a provincewide lockdown on Dec. 26 with the Ontario Premier blaming travelers for an uptick in cases there, The Associated Press reported.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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