Canada lifts ban on international travel from 10 African countries starting December 18 at 11:59 p.m. The Health Minister of Canada – Jean-Yves Duclos – made the announcement today (December 17, 2021). Canada first implemented the ban on November 26 to seven African countries, but expanded it to 10 countries within days. The countries on the ban list are: South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt.
The government said the bans were originally put in place due to a high rate of travellers testing positive for coronavirus from those countries. However, African political leaders and scientists criticized Canada for only including African countries in its ban despite the fact that the Omicron variant is in 44 countries at the time.
In addition to lifting the ban, Canada will also re-introduce pre-arrival tests for all new incoming travellers. Currently, Canadian residents can leave and come back within 72 hours without needing a pre-arrival COVID-19 test. But from December 21, all new arrivals to Canada will need a negative pre-arrival test.
The federal government also requires travellers who are allowed to still enter Canada from those countries to get a negative COVID-19 test in a third country before boarding. Most travellers believe this makes getting to Canada next to impossible. Over the weekend, the government suspended that requirement for South Africa.
Canada’s ban became known as “travel apartheid.” According to the World Health Organization Director-Genera – Tendros Adhanom Ghebrevesus
the rules were disappointing. Advocates from within Canada also called for the rules to end.
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