By Nicole Bogart
TORONTO (CTV Network) — The federal government is set to eliminate PCR testing requirements for fully vaccinated Canadians travelling outside of the country, a senior government source tells CTV News.
Currently, any person who travels outside the country must provide proof of a negative molecular test, such as a PCR test, prior to returning to Canada. The test must be taken within 72 hours of scheduled departure on a flight or arrival at a land border.
Ottawa is set to remove those requirements at the end of the month, CTV News has confirmed. Instead of a PCR test, Canadians will be required to show proof of a negative antigen test, similar to the United States.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos signalled Friday that the federal government would announce changes to pandemic measures at Canada’s borders next week.
The federal government has advised against all non-essential international travel since mid-December following the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Foreign nationals coming to Canada, and those travelling within the country by plane, passenger train or boat, must be vaccinated, with some exceptions.
Duclos said during a news briefing that the worst of the latest COVID-19 wave is now behind Canada, and the government will “continue to tweak” measures accordingly.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam also said the country’s travel advisory is being assessed.
Due to the infectious nature of Omicron, Tam said it is difficult to stop every case at the border and prevent an infected person from transmitting the virus to someone else.
The number of new cases in Canada has dropped to about 11,000 each day, although many jurisdictions have restricted tests to high-risk individuals.
With files from CTVNews.ca writer Michael Lee and The Canadian Press
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