Toronto: Canada has joined a growing list of nations, including India, in imposing Covid-19-related travel restrictions on air passengers arriving from China, attributing the action to scanty epidemiological data being shared by Beijing.
The measure, announced on Saturday, will go into effect on January 5 and remain in place for a period of 30 days.
A release from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) stated that all air travellers aged two years and older, arriving on flights originating from the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong or Macao, will need to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test result, taken no more than two days before their departure, to the airline prior to boarding. Canadian authorities will accept either a negative molecular test, such as the RT-PCR, or negative antigen test, if the latter has documentation to show that it has been monitored by a telehealth service or an accredited laboratory or testing provider.
In addition, passengers who tested positive more than 10 days before their departure flight, but no more than 90 days, can provide the airline with documentation of their prior positive, in place of a negative test result.
The release said, “In response to the surge of Covid-19 in the People’s Republic of China and given the limited epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data available on these cases, the Government of Canada intends to put in place certain temporary health measures for air travellers entering Canada from China.”
These temporary measures will be reassessed after 30 days of implementation as more data and evidence becomes available. Airlines must receive the negative Covid-19 test result, or documentation of a positive test result taken within the prior 10-90 days, before the traveller boards the plane, otherwise the traveller will be denied boarding.
Canada had dropped Covid-related border controls on October 1 last year.
“Our actions continue to be guided by prudence and we will not hesitate to adjust measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians,” Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos said.
Several other countries have either already imposed or announced they will instate similar measures specific to China. These include India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and France. These announcements have come as the World Health Organization has questioned whether China is being transparent with information related to the coronavirus outbreak there.