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Canada will no longer require a molecular COVID-19 test as the cheaper and faster antigen tests will suffice for vaccinated international travelers.
The government has also dropped the travel advisory that urged Canadians to avoid international travel.
This is a result of the drop in COVID-19 cases in the country.
Canada’s top doctor said earlier this month that the country had already surpassed the peak of its latest wave caused by the highly transmissible omicron variant.
Cases in Canada began to rise in December, and then the numbers stabilized at a low point in the last days of January.
The relaxed entry rules will be reassessed in the following weeks. Testing requirements for fully vaccinated Canadians making trips of less than 72 hours may be dropped.
Testing a negative rapid antigen test one day before traveling and a molecular test within 72 hours of their departure are now options for vaccinated travelers. Random testing may occur upon arrival, but quarantine is no longer required while waiting for the results.
On the other hand, a rapid test is required before boarding the plane for unvaccinated Canadians. They will also need a molecular test upon landing and another molecular test eight days after, plus an isolation period of two weeks.
Around 80% of Canadians are fully vaccinated, while more than 40% have been vaccinated with a booster shot.
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and the country’s most populous province, Ontario, are among the several provinces that have recently announced a loosening of restrictions as COVID-19 cases steadily declined.
Protests in Ottawa and several border crossings were launched for weeks to oppose the restrictions, which disrupted trade and paralyzed the downtown core of Canada’s capital.
Earlier this month, after a tense stand-off with police, demonstrators were cleared from Ottawa.
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