Wednesday, May 18, 2022
ADVT 
National

Foreign air visitors to U.S. to need COVID test

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 02 Dec, 2021 11:22 AM
  • Foreign air visitors to U.S. to need COVID test

By early next week, Canadians and all other foreign visitors who travel to the United States by air will need to get a COVID-19 test no later than 24 hours before their departure.

U.S. President Joe Biden is slashing the current 72-hour testing window for fully vaccinated travellers as part of a suite of public health measures aimed at slowing the spread of the highly mutated Omicron variant. 

"We're pulling out all the stops to get people maximum protection from this pandemic," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told a briefing Thursday in advance of Biden's afternoon announcement. 

"Our view and belief, and the belief of our medical team, is that we have the tools to keep people safe. We're executing on a robust plan that builds off of all the actions we've taken to date — we are not starting from scratch here." 

A White House background memo makes no mention of land borders, or whether fully vaccinated Canadians who drive south would be required to show a test result. Currently, no such test is required to cross into the U.S. by land. 

Martin Firestone, a travel insurance broker in Toronto, said he's been run off his feet in recent weeks as clients seek clarity on the ever-changing constellation of travel rules — and he expects that to continue given the latest changes. 

Firestone said he's already heard from clients who say they're having trouble finding an affordable antigen test that has a turnaround time of less than 24 hours, forcing them to pay a premium for quicker testing options. 

"They called Shoppers (Drug Mart) … and they say they can't get it back to you quick enough that you'll have it guaranteed for sure before you hop on an 8 a.m. flight," Firestone said. 

"So they're being forced to go to private health clinics where the cost of a rapid test, to get it back in 15 minutes, is $350, if you can believe it." 

Psaki was asked Thursday about the potential challenges of a 24-hour window and said the White House is taking the issue under consideration, but couldn't say immediately whether there would be any exceptions. 

She also pointed out that there are still more questions than answers about the dangers of Omicron, making it difficult to anticipate future changes to international travel restrictions. 

"I wouldn't expect the lifting of restrictions before we know more about the variant," Psaki said.

 "We will continue to evaluate if additional restrictions need to be put in place. None of these are meant to be permanent. None of them are meant to be a punishment. They're all put in place to protect the American people, to hopefully save more lives."

 The rise of Omicron marks only the latest twist in the long road back to some semblance of normality for people who routinely travel back and forth between the two countries. 

MORE National ARTICLES

Top court delves into notorious 'Surrey Six' case

Top court delves into notorious 'Surrey Six' case

Earlier this year, the B.C. Court of Appeal quashed the convictions of Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston for the gang-related murders in what has become known as the "Surrey Six" case.

Top court delves into notorious 'Surrey Six' case

Network breach at GG secretary's office

Network breach at GG secretary's office

The Office of the Secretary to Gov. Gen. Mary Simon confirms says its internal network was breached through unauthorized access. In a statement Thursday, the office said it is working with experts and "pursuing further network improvements" as needed and that the nature and scope of the breach is still being investigated.

Network breach at GG secretary's office

Police arrest man armed with knife, axe

Police arrest man armed with knife, axe

A North Vancouver man is in police custody after RCMP responded to a call Wednesday afternoon about a suspect carrying a large knife and an axe. Police say at around noon, a member of public alerted an officer on patrol about an armed man in the Canyon Heights area.

Police arrest man armed with knife, axe

B.C. deals with flood warnings, evacuations

B.C. deals with flood warnings, evacuations

Several rivers in British Columbia were under flood warnings on Wednesday as hundreds of homes remained evacuated because of heavy rainfall. There were 12 evacuation orders involving 350 homes in the Fraser Valley Regional District in its coverage area from Boston Bar to Abbotsford.

B.C. deals with flood warnings, evacuations

Open more overdose prevention sites: study

Open more overdose prevention sites: study

In B.C., the highest rates of fatal overdose are in the urban Vancouver health region, at 44.6 per 100,000 people, and the remote northern region, where the rate is 42.8 per 100,000.

Open more overdose prevention sites: study

Vancouver home sales up 12% in Nov.: board

Vancouver home sales up 12% in Nov.: board

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says November home sales increased by almost 12 per cent from last year as demand continued to outpace supply. The B.C. board says sales for the month amounted to 3,428, up from 3,064 last November but down from 3,494 in October 2021.

Vancouver home sales up 12% in Nov.: board

PrevNext