The government of Canada on Sunday announced that it will administer COVID-19 testing at the US port of entry, with exemption to the negative COVID-19 PCR test results taken in the United States within 72 hours before entry into Canada. In order to fight the spread of the new variants of the coronavirus, Canada’s Public Health Agency announced the pre-and post-travel measures that make on-site swab tests mandatory for the travellers at over 117 crossings on its border with the US, according to the new COVID-19 travel rules rolled out by Canada’s health ministry. Effective February 22, the new measure fulfils the 1 day arrival requirements into the country. As per the new rules, those that test positive to the swab test are required to take a second test on the tenth day of their 14-day quarantine.
According to a statement released by Canada’s Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Canadian armed forces personnel (CAD) will lead the collection of samples from travellers at land borders with the US, in coordination with federal partners including Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Canada Border Services Agency. COVID-19 tests will be administered by PHAC officers and Canadian Red Cross personnel. The Canadian armed forces are also involved in providing preliminary logistics support to PHAC to establish the testing sites at the US-Canada borders.
"The measures we are taking at the border will help us prevent travel-related cases of COVID-19 in our communities. These testing requirements at our land border will also help us detect and address any cases caused by variants of concern,” Canada’s Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu told the Canadian state press.
He added, “While our government has taken strong action to respond to COVID-19, we all have a part to play in stopping the spread. Canadians should not be travelling now.”
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair, meanwhile urged the Canada citizens to adhere to the testing and the quarantine requirements enforced by the PHAC and avoid all non-essential travel abroad over rising concerns about the more virulent strains of COVID-19. “It is by working together, with all federal partners, orders of government and international partners that we will get through this pandemic,” he said in a statement. Five high-volume ports of entry where the on-site testing measure was enforced are effective Monday, February 22 are St. Bernard de Lacolle (Highway 15), Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, Douglas, Coutts, AB, and St. Stephen 3rd Bridge, NB. An additional 11 high-volume ports of entry will offer on-site testing beginning March 4, 2021. As per the Canadian government’s plan, any violation of the testing at the port of entry on the US border would be a criminal offence under the Quarantine Act and will lead to 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.