The Government of Canada intends to introduce certain temporary health measures for air passengers arriving in Canada from China.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the Government of Canada has taken a prudent and measured approach to adjusting border controls to protect the health and safety of Canadians. In response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the People's Republic of China, and given the limited data on epidemiological and viral genomic sequences available on these cases, the Government of Canada intends to implement certain temporary health measures for air passengers arriving in Canada from China.
As of 00:01 EST on January 5, all air passengers aged two years or older arriving on flights from the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, or Macau will be required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than two days before departure, to the airline before boarding. The test can either be negative at the molecular level (such as a PCR test) or a negative test for an antigen that has documentation showing it has been tested by a telemedicine service, accredited laboratory, or testing provider. Passengers who test positive more than 10 days before departure, but no more than 90 days before, may provide documentation of their previous positive result to the airline in lieu of a negative test result.
These planned health measures will apply to air travelers regardless of nationality and vaccination status. These are temporary measures valid for 30 days and will be reassessed as more data and evidence becomes available. Airlines must obtain a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of a positive test result taken within the previous 10-90 days before the traveler boards the aircraft, otherwise the traveler will be denied boarding.
< class="MsoNormal">In addition, travelers will be asked if they have traveled to the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong or Macau in the last 10 days when arriving at security screening kiosks and eGates, or when filing a customs declaration using the optional CBSA Pre-Declaration before arriving at Canadian airports. If so, Canada Border Services Agency staff will provide them with additional public health information about COVID-19 transmission, personal protection measures, and what to do if they develop symptoms of COVID-19. This only applies to air travelers and not to those arriving by land.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is launching a pilot project to test aircraft wastewater at Vancouver International Airport and expanding an existing project with Toronto Pearson International Airport to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in various regions of the world. The samples are then sequenced to track new variants of interest.
The Government of Canada has a strong monitoring program with provinces and territories to identify variants of COVID-19 in Canada, including the Omicron variant of concern and its sub-genres, primarily through a robust genomic sequencing network and by monitoring wastewater in Canadian communities. Positive test samples for genomic sequencing are obtained from internal provincial, territorial, and federal molecular tests from a variety of sources to validate new variants.
While not required, all travelers are strongly advised to wear well-designed and well-fitted masks when traveling on planes and at airports or other crowded areas. People are being reminded not to travel if they have symptoms of COVID-19. If travelers become ill while traveling and are still ill upon arrival in Canada, they must report it to a flight attendant or border control officer upon arrival.
The Government of Canada continues to work with international partners to expand opportunities sequencing and is closely monitoring the global epidemiology of COVID-19 and the emergence of new variants of concern.