Canada Drops PCR Test Requirement for Short Trips, to Add New Accepted Vaccines

Canada Drops PCR Test Requirement for Short Trips, to Add New Accepted Vaccines

Good news for Canadian travellers who are planning short trips. All travellers entering Canada, regardless of vaccination status, have been required to present proof of a molecular COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of crossing the land border or boarding a flight.

Canada announced several new measures at the border that will begin to take effect at the end of the month.

The Canadian government will be lifting the PCR test requirement for fully vaccinated Canadian and permanent residents returning to Canada after short trips starting 30 November.

This means that as soon as this re-entry requirement comes into effect, travellers who are coming back into the country within 72 hours of their departure will no longer need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

These tests can cost anywhere between $150 to $300. Antigen tests, which generally only cost $40 to $60, are not accepted for entry in Canada.

This is good news for Canadian travellers who plan to go to the US to do holiday shopping.

Any trips longer than 72 hours outside of Canada will still need a negative PCR test upon return, and it does not apply to the US or other international travellers coming to Canada.

Test Required for Americans Crossing the Border

Canada opened its borders in October to non-essential international travellers who have received both doses of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, fully vaccinated Americans have been allowed to cross the land border into Canada since August, with certain entry conditions.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the federal government is taking a “phased approach” when it comes to permitting fully vaccinated tourists into the country without a negative molecular test.

Tam said that permitting Canadian travellers first to re-enter without the PCR test on short trips will help “mitigate the risk” of increased COVID-19 cases coming from abroad. 

Tam said public health authorities can keep better track of Canadian citizens and permanent residents upon their return to Canada than they can US visitors. However, Americans may soon be able to cross the border without the testing requirement.

Canada Recognises More COVID Vaccines

In addition to the change in re-entry testing, the federal government announced that travellers who have received the Sinopharm, Sinovac and Covaxin COVID-19 vaccines will be considered fully vaccinated for travel purposes on 30 November.

Fully vaccinated travellers can enter Canada with a pre-entry molecular COVID-19 test result for all travellers five years of age or older. Antigen tests are not accepted. 

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