Canadians Warned To Avoid Nonessential International Travel Amid Omicron

Canada issues a travel advisory this week, asking its citizens to avoid all nonessential international travel as the Omicron variant continues to spread around the world. 

“We see the situation abroad, and we’re afraid and concerned with what could happen to Canadians who would choose to go abroad in the next few weeks.”

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“The situation abroad is already dire in many places, and it’s going to get worse very quickly. So we are afraid for what could happen to them if they chose to travel. And once they have left Canada, there is very little we can do to help them,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada’s health minister.

Canadian government officials also warned that other restrictions will likely be announced in the coming days/weeks to better protect their citizens from infection. 

The US-Canada border is still open, and those who are travelling by land between the two nations don’t need to provide a negative Covid-19 test as long as their trip is less than 72 hours and they’re vaccinated. 

Canada is also allowing foreigners to enter the country for business and leisure, as long as they’re vaccinated and provide a negative Covid-19 test upon entry. 

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The current travel advisory is set to last for at least four weeks, and Canadian officials said that imposing stricter measures in the coming days is still a likely option.

“We are constantly reassessing so when we feel we need to change our policies, we will announce it as quickly as possible, but for now, we are monitoring it and assessing it,” said Transport Minister Omar Alghabra during the news conference.

Despite high levels of vaccination in Canada, public health officials are still worried as Canadians remain vulnerable to the Omicron variant, and are preparing for an increase in cases within the coming weeks. 

“I know the rising threat Omicron poses is not something any of us want to be dealing with, especially now just before the holidays. I know we are all tired, we are all tired of Covid. But I think we all also understand that after 21 months of fighting this virus and doing a pretty good job as a country, that making hard decisions quickly and behaving carefully pays off,” said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland when announcing the travel advisory.