Canada will not extend ban on flights from the U.K., replaced with pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirement

Elisabetta Bianchini

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Minister of Transport Marc Garneau confirmed Wednesday that Canada’s existing ban on flights coming to the country from the U.K. will not be extended as the federal government implements a pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirement.

“I will no longer be applicable,” Garneau said at a press conference on Wednesday. “We’ve made that decision based on the fact that we have now put in place, since that original ban, a pre-departure testing protocol.”

“That will replace the ban that existed for the U.K.”

Beginning at midnight on Jan. 7, all international travellers flying into Canada, who are five years of age or older, will require a negative PCR COVID-19 test to enter the country, conducted up to 72 hours before departure, mainly in the Caribbean.

Garneau confirmed that people who have been vaccinated will not be exempt from the pre-departure testing requirement to enter Canada.

“The science is not yet clear on whether somebody who is vaccinated is not going to be able to transmit COVID-19,” he said.

What to expect at the airport

For people travelling from the Caribbean or South America, where it is more difficult to get a PCR test, they will have 96 hours before departure to get their results.

“The decision to implement the pre-boarding negative testing measure was not made lightly,” Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said on Wednesday. “While we recognize that these measures may cause inconvenience and frustration for Canadians travelling back to Canada, we are doing and will always do what is necessary to help protect the health and safety of all Canadians.”

Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, outlined that when travellers coming to Canada arrive at the airport, the airline is expected to take their temperature and ask a series of questions, including questions about any COVID-19 exposures. They should also ensure that all travels are not exhibiting any possible COVID-19 symptoms.

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test must be presented to the airline before boarding a flight to Canada.

Travellers will also need to submit a health questionnaire and quarantine plan through the ArriveCAN App or website. This applies to individuals coming to Canada by air, land or sea.

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