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Canada to ask air arrivals to take COVID tests except on U.S. flights

Canada: To combat the spread of the Omicron coronavirus type, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said on Tuesday that persons arriving by plane from all countries save the United States will be required to do a COVID-19 test.

Ottawa is also extending a travel restriction on people from southern Africa to three additional countries, increasing the total number of countries affected to ten.

Seven persons with the novel variety have been found in Canada, at least four of whom were recently in Nigeria.

The Canadian government also stated that it was in advanced negotiations with Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) about a COVID-19 antiviral medicine procurement arrangement.

“All air passengers traveling in Canada from outside of the United States will now be screened at the airport (where) they are landing in Canada,” Duclos said at a press conference.

“They’ll have to sequester themselves till they get the results of their examination,” says the announcer.

Duclos stated that the Liberal government will speak with the ten provinces to determine if the testing requirement might be expanded, if necessary, to include everyone entering the nation via air and land border crossings with the United States. The provinces would have to agree to extend the deadline.

“We don’t know if it’s necessary,” he added, adding that no decision had been reached.

Foreign nationals who visited Nigeria, Malawi, or Egypt in the past 14 days would be temporarily barred from entering Canada, according to Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.

Travelers who had recently visited South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, or Mozambique were prevented from entering Ottawa last week.
Even fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents who have visited the ten countries must be screened before entering Canada, he warned.

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Alberta’s chief medical officer, Deena Hinshaw, told reporters on Tuesday that one instance of the Omicron variant has been verified. The individual found in Alberta, according to Hinshaw, was asymptomatic and had just traveled from Nigeria and the Netherlands.

The first incidence of the novel variety was also reported in British Columbia, with the patient having recently returned from a trip to Nigeria.

The premiers of Canada’s two most populous provinces, Ontario and Quebec, are urging Ottawa to impose stronger rules and more viral testing.

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