Transport Minister Marc Garneau said on Thursday, Canada will require all air travelers aged 5 and up to test negative for COVID-19 before arrival, starting 7th Jan 2021.
The country has tightened travel restrictions due to the increasing cases of the new coronavirus strain.
All passengers aged 5 and up will require to have a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to their scheduled departure to Canada, the country said on Wednesday, after social media images of maskless Canadian tourists abroad prompted calls for stricter measures to curb the virus.
As per the circular, all passengers are required to show a negative Rt-PCR test report to the airline before boarding a flight to Canada.
Pre-departure testing will not eliminate a mandatory 14-day quarantine for arrivals, in a blow to Canada’s battered airlines, which had been pushing for a negative result to be accepted as an alternative to such restrictions.
“The announcement only addresses one element of the path forward: the utilization of testing to help further protect public health,” said Mike McNaney, president of National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents large carriers like Air Canada.
“We strongly believe it must also be utilized in conjunction with measures to reduce quarantine levels,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
The new measures add to Canada’s existing restrictions, which normally deny non-essential foreigners entry and where citizens returning from abroad are required to quarantine.
Canada will also increase surveillance to ensure travelers entering Canada complete their quarantine, Garneau said.