Canada bans entry of foreigners from southern Africa to tackle new COVID variant
- Canada will ban the entry of foreign nationals who have travelled through southern Africa
- The decision comes after the discovery of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus
- The countries include South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini
The Canadian government announced on Friday that it is banning the entry of foreign nationals who have travelled through southern Africa in the last 14 days after the discovery of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus that has stoked world fears and triggered widespread travel bans.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the government will impose five measures in an effort to limit the spread of the new variant. Canadian ministers said testing will be mandatory for all Canadians who have travelled to southern Africa in the last 14 days. Those countries include South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.
They will be tested on arrival and must quarantine until they get a negative test result.
Those who have arrived in Canada in the last 14 days were also asked to quarantine and get a COVID-19 test.
There are no direct flights from southern Africa to Canada. Officials said there is no indication of any cases in Canada. Foreign nationals who have travelled through southern Africa in the past 14 days won’t be allowed into the country, Duclos said.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden is also set to restrict travel from South Africa and seven other African countries starting Monday, according to media reports.
The Biden administration will restrict travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi, acting on advice from Dr Anthony Fauci and the CDC.
Biden was briefed on Friday on the new coronavirus variant circulating in southern Africa, according to CNN reports.
The White House did not give details except to say the restrictions do not apply to American citizens and lawful permanent residents. As with all international travellers, they must still test negative prior to travel.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, the World Health Organization (WHO) assigned the Greek letter "Omicron" to the new coronavirus detected in South Africa and identified it as a "variant of concern". The strain was initially identified as B.1.159.