Last Updated on December 15, 2021
Canada has reimposed its advisory against all non-essential international travel as it looks to stop the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The new advisory was announced on Wednesday by Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, coming just days before many Canadians were looking to get away for the Christmas vacation period.
“To those who were planning to travel I say very clearly: now is not the time to travel,” Duclos said.
He added that those who do travel abroad risk being stranded, due to the rapidly evolving situation with omicron and the likelihood that Canada and other countries could impose new restrictions.
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The move comes as airports were anticipating their busiest period since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Omicron is currently spreading at an alarming rate around the world, with both South Africa and the UK reporting record daily infection numbers on Wednesday.
Canada has seen a 33 percent increase in infections in the last seven days, while hospitalizations have increased three percent.
Ottawa is also likely to reimpose mandatory on-arrival testing and isolation rules for air travellers outside the US. Currently, tests are only being conducted on a random basis.
The government is also going to further expand its on-arrival testing and isolation rule which so far is only being randomly applied to air travellers. The government has said it will be made universal to all air travellers outside of the United States, but it hasn’t yet said when that will happen.
It is understood that Canada considered harsher measures, including a travel ban for all foreign nationals and reimposing two weeks of quarantine or isolation.
Canada is currently trying to ramp up access to booster shots, with 16 million currently available and more on the way. Duclos is also placing significant importance in the use of home tests, with 95 million made available to provinces and 35