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Short trip across the border? COVID molecular tests are required again after brief hiatus

Test must be taken outside of Canada within 72 hours of arrival
Cars line up to enter the U.S. from Canada at the Peace Arch border crossing Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, in Blaine, Wash. The U.S. reopened its land borders to nonessential travel Monday after almost 20 months of COVID-19 restrictions. Travel across land borders from Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to workers whose jobs are deemed essential. New rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

All individuals seeking to enter Canada by land or air will require a molecular COVID-19 test, regardless of how short the trip away was.

The reinstatement of the testing requirement comes less than a month after the federal government lifted the testing requirement for travellers leaving and returning to Canada within 72 hours.

As of Tuesday (Dec. 21), travellers leaving Canada for any amount of time must take a molecular COVID-19 test and upload results to the ArriveCAN app prior to returning. The test must be taken within 72 hours of returning (or boarding flight) and as of Tuesday, it must be taken outside of Canada.

Earlier, the requirement to test within 72 hours of returning had been criticized because the test could be taken before even leaving Canada on trips shorter than 72 hours.

Accepted tests for border crossings include PCR tests, NAT or NAATSs tests and RT-LAMP tests. Rapid antigen tests are not acceptable.

READ MORE: Canada reinstates molecular test for all travellers, lifts ban on African countries

The requirement comes in tandem with a travel advisory against leaving Canada issued last week as both this country and much of the rest of the world deals with a surge in COVID-19 cases sparked by the new Omicron variant. The variant, first detected in South Africa, transmits faster than Delta and is expected to become the main type of COVID in Canada.

READ MORE: Feds urge Canadians to avoid international travel over holidays due to Omicron spread


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