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Canada eases travel requirements for fully vaccinated

Officials said the country is moving to "long-term management of COVID-19" after the omicron variant passed its peak in Canada.
Credit: AP
U.S. and Canadian flags fly together at the border at the Peace Arch Historical State Park, Monday, Aug. 9, 2021, in Blaine, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

OTTAWA, ON — Citing a decrease in omicron cases, Canada will ease its entry requirements for vaccinated travelers entering the country. 

Starting just after midnight on Feb. 28, fully vaccinated travelers will be able to enter with a negative rapid antigen test from the last 24 hours instead of a molecular PCR test. PCR tests will still be accepted. 

According to a release from Canada officials, rapid antigen tests taken before departure must be authorized by the country where it was purchased and "administered by a laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth service" -- so at-home tests generally won't qualify. 

The antigen test must also be taken no more than 24 hours before a scheduled flight or arrival at the border. PCR tests will still need to be taken in the last 72 hours. 

The new measures include random post-arrival PCR testing for fully vaccinated travelers.

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Unvaccinated travelers will still be required to test on arrival, on Day 8 and quarantine for 14 days. Unvaccinated foreign nationals aren't allowed to enter Canada unless they meet one of the country's few exemptions.

Officials said the changes are part of a "more sustainable approach to long-term management of COVID-19" after the omicron variant passed its peak in Canada.

"The return to mandatory random testing of all vaccinated travellers will facilitate travel for Canadians all while helping our public health authorities to detect future changes in COVID-19 importation rates and variants of concern," Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in the release. "As we have said all along, Canada’s border measures will remain flexible and adaptable, for potential future scenarios.”  

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