Health Minister, Jean-Yves Duclos (Google photo)
Canada lifts travel ban on Nigeria travelers
Canada has lifted ban on foreign travelers from Nigeria and nine other African countries, while reimposing testing and warning that the Omicron variant of coronavirus (COVID-19) risks quickly overwhelming hospitals.
Health Minister, Jean-Yves Duclos, disclosed this at a press conference on Friday.
He said that the travel restriction on flights from South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt would end at 11:59pm on Saturday (0459 GMT Sunday).
“The restriction was announced last month to slow the arrival of Omicron in Canada and buy us some time,” he said. But with Omicron now spreading within Canada it is “no longer needed.”
Pre-arrival negative PCR tests for all travelers would also be reinstated as of December 21, Duclos said, while repeating a government warning earlier this week that “now is not the time to travel.”
Officials said laboratory tests have confirmed as of Friday nearly 350 cases of the Omicron variant across Canada.
The total average daily Covid case count, meanwhile, has jumped by 45 percent in the past week to about 5,000.
“It is expected the sheer number of (Omicron) cases could inundate the health system in a very short period of time,” said Chief Public Health Officer, Theresa Tam.