The Government of Canada has extended all quarantine and travel measures until June 21, 2021.
In addition to restricting all direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India and Pakistan, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is also extending its already-in-place border measures.
This includes entry and flight restrictions, such as mandatory pre-arrival, on-arrival, and post-arrival testing requirements, mandatory hotel stopover for air travellers and mandatory 14-day quarantine for international arrivals.
"As the science and evidence evolve and knowledge of the virus and variants increases, the policies to keep Canadians safe will evolve as well," PHAC said in a statement on Friday (May 21). "Current data shows that Canada's pre-arrival, on-arrival, and post-arrival testing requirements, as well as mandatory hotel stay for air travellers, are working."
Minister of Health Patty Hajdu added:
“We are extending the testing and quarantine measures at the border because they protect Canadians. As our health care system grapples with the third wave of the pandemic, our government will continue to adjust its response to COVID-19. I encourage all Canadians to get vaccinated when it’s their turn, and to keep following local public health measures," she said.
Yesterday, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra faced questions over when Canada could start relaxing its travel restrictions using the yet-to-be-announced vaccine passport system federal officials are working on.
Minister Alghabra said Canada’s border measures, including the mandatory hotel quarantine order for international air arrivals and reopening of the Canada-U.S. border, will hinge on "data and evidence," including advice from public health.
The travel and aviation sector will resume "when it's safe,” he said, the Canadian Press reported.
The Minister said he is meeting with G7 countries and EU officials to integrate vaccine certificates into international travel in the coming months. (EU nations, meanwhile, have agreed to open borders for vaccinated visitors).
Canadian officials have been talking about introducing a vaccine passport system for several months now.
In a media interview last March, Minister Hajdu said Canada was working to develop a vaccine certification system that is consistent with other countries.
India, Pakistan travel ban
Federal officials, earlier, announced a 30-day extension on restrictions to India and Pakistan due to concerns over the importation of COVID-19 and its variants.
The ban applies to direct flights from both countries. However, people can still fly to Canada from either country by arriving via a third country.
Passengers who are travelling through an indirect route need to obtain a negative COVID-19 test from the last country they were in before they land in Canada.
"The temporary flight restrictions on India and Pakistan have significantly reduced the risk of importing cases and new variants. We are extending these temporary measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians," Minister Alghabra wrote on his Twitter account on Friday.
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