The federal government announced Saturday it will temporarily require travellers arriving in Canada from China, Hong Kong or Macao to provide a negative COVID-19 test.
It comes as China faces a surge in new cases of the virus. According to BBC News, case numbers remain unknown as Chinese officials stopped requiring cases to be reported.
“The safety and security of Canadians is always our government’s top priority,” said Marco Mendicino, Canada’s minister of public safety.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve implemented strong measures at Canada’s border to limit the spread of COVID-19, and that continues now.”
Starting on Jan. 5, travellers arriving on flights from China, Hong Kong or Macao must provide a negative COVID-19 test, taken no more than two days prior to boarding the plane.
Once they land, travellers must declare to the Canada Border Service Agency if they travelled to any of the three countries in the 10 days prior to their flight.
If they have, the CBSA will provide public health information on the transmission of COVID-19, personal protective measures and what to do if they develop symptoms of the virus.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says it’s implementing a pilot project on wastewater testing for aircraft at Vancouver International Airport.
In addition, it will also expand the existing project with Toronto Pearson International Airport as a means of assessing the presence of COVID-19 from various regions of the world.
Ottawa says the measures will remain in effect for 30 days, but will be reassessed as more data and evidence becomes available.
“Even though the pandemic has evolved, COVID-19 is still a threat that requires global cooperation,” said Mélanie Joly, Canada’s foreign affairs minister.
“Canada remains committed to working with global partners to manage the ongoing COVID-19 response and enhance preparedness for the future.”
Joly added the Canadian embassy in Beijing, consulates in China and the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa stand ready to provide assistance to Canadians.