Canada’s already restrictive entrance requirements are about to get tougher. Starting on Jan. 7, air passengers ages 5 and older flying into the country will need to have taken a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of their scheduled departure and be able to show a negative result prior to boarding that flight.
This requirement will be added to the mandatory 14-day quarantine that all incoming travelers, including Canadian citizens, must do.
Those traveling or returning to Canada will also need to discuss their quarantine plans with federal officials upon arrival. If they are not satisfied with the proposal, they can require the incoming person to quarantine in a federal facility.
The potential penalties for breaking quarantine are significant, including a fine of up to C$750,000 ($590,000) or up to six months in jail.
Canadian officials are also continuing to stress to those in Canada that they do not travel for non-essential reasons.
It has not yet been decided what, if anything, will be done with Canada’s land borders with the United States as it relates to COVID-19 testing requirements for those crossing that border into Canada.
Irrespective of this new development, non-essential foreigners who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents will continue to be denied entry into Canada in nearly all cases.
What sparked this change was the development and discovery of a more contagious strain in the United Kingdom. It has already been reported to have arrived in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
The overall COVID-19 situation in Canada is worsening as well.
On Dec. 31, 8,400 more cases were reported, and daily records were broken in Canada as a whole as well as in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta. Since the first case in Canada was confirmed on Jan. 27, 580,000 have been diagnosed with COVID-19.