Federal Liberal Cabinet considers whether to lift remaining COVID-19 travel measures Pipa News

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Federal Liberal Cabinet considers whether to lift remaining COVID-19 travel measures

OTTAWA – The federal Liberal cabinet is considering whether to renew COVID-19 vaccine mandates and mandatory random testing for travelers.

The current measures will expire on September 30.

A senior government official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters that have not been made public says no decision has been made.

Under the soon-to-expire rules, foreigners will typically not be allowed to travel to Canada unless they have completed a primary course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, unless they qualify for an exception.

Unvaccinated travelers allowed to enter Canada are subject to mandatory arrival tests and a 14-day quarantine.

Vaccinated travelers may also be selected for mandatory random testing — a system public health officials have used as an “early warning system” for new strains of the virus entering the country.

The government has contracted companies to run off-site testing clinics in an effort to ease congestion at Canada’s international airports.

The federal government gradually scaled back travel restrictions on COVID-19 over the spring and summer as booster shots became more widely available in Canada.

The cabinet ‘suspended’ vaccine mandates for domestic travel in June, but Intergovernmental Affairs Secretary Dominic LeBlanc warned at the time that COVID-19 vaccinations could become a requirement again if the number of cases increased in the fall.

Public health officials and infectious disease experts have warned of a potentially large surge in new COVID-19 cases this month as students return to school.

But the Public Health Agency of Canada has also said the country is moving into a new, more sustainable phase of the pandemic.

The decision to renew or lift the current restrictions will be approved by federal ministers expected to meet in Ottawa early next week.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 20, 2022.

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