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Canada to drop COVID testing for air travellers from China

The Canadian government is lifting its COVID-19 testing requirements for air travelers arriving in the country from China, Hong Kong or Macau.

The change will take effect at 12:01 a.m. EDT on March 17th.

“Canada’s COVID-19 containment measures continue to be informed by available data, scientific evidence and monitoring of the epidemiological situation and response capacity domestically and internationally,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Thursday. “While this is good news, we must remain vigilant. We all need to complete our COVID-19 vaccine series and additional recommended doses, and continue to do all we can to protect ourselves and those around us.”

The government first introduced the testing requirements on January 5, 2023, in response to a surge in COVID infections in China, “to protect the health and safety of Canadians” and “given the limited data available at that time on these cases.”

The government says no new variants of COVID-19 have been detected since then, based on data from China and the rest of the world, as well as sewage sampling data in Canada.

“While we are encouraged that the epidemiological situation has improved in both China and Canada, and that the temporary testing requirements for air travelers in early 2023 may now be lifted, we know that we must remain vigilant in the face of COVID-19 and in the fight against its options,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in the message. “We will continue to make decisions based on the best public health advice and adjust our measures accordingly to keep travelers, transport workers and our transport system safe and secure.”

A Level 2 Travel Health Notice is currently in place for travel to all countries related to COVID-19.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says air travelers are encouraged to wear a mask and anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home.

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