The federal government will advise Canadians against non-essential travel to foreign countries, as Canada attempts to limit the spread of the Omicron variant, according to two government sources.
The sources, who CTV News is not identifying because they were not authorized to speak about the new restrictions, say the non-essential travel recommendation will likely be announced Wednesday.
The federal government instituted a similar recommendation in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, but only recently lifted it in October, as vaccinations rose.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and premiers had a 90-minute meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the new non-essential travel recommendation, but also a number of other travel measures that could help curb the spread of COVID-19.
One measure that is likely to be implemented is testing at airports for all individuals coming back to Canada, regardless of nationality or the country they are arriving from, according to a senior government source.
Currently, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning home after short trips of 72 hours or less to the United States and abroad do not have to provide proof of a negative molecular test, such as a PCR test.
For longer trips, anyone coming into Canada from international locations is required to have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of scheduled departure in order to board the aircraft and to avoid a potential 14-day quarantine when they arrive.
The federal government has been criticized for having complicated travel restrictions for Canadians looking to return home from African countries that had extensive restrictions placed upon them.
Another measure being considered by the federal government is banning foreign nationals from entering Canada outright, but sources tell CTV News the federal government is unlikely to implement it at this point.
On Friday, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said that Canadians who travel abroad should be prepared for “hassles and delays” when they returned home. “Canadians who are thinking of traveling abroad need to be warned that the situation abroad is both risky and unstable,” said Duclos.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam has stated that community spread of the new variant has already started and that Omicron cases “could rapidly escalate in the days to come.”
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