Canada’s lifting of testing requirement is positive step forward

Starting next Friday, April 1, Canada won’t be requiring fully-vaccinated travelers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to enter the country.

Those entering Canada by plane could still be randomly selected to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival. Those who aren’t fully vaccinated still have to take a test before flying to Canada. All travelers are still being asked to submit their health information via the ArriveCAN app before traveling across the border. Regardless, the Canadian government’s announcement that it will be lifting the testing requirement for fully-vaccinated travelers is great news for our region.

For those of us who’ve gotten our shots, it means no longer having to worry about our test results coming back within a specific time frame. It makes it that much easier to spend time with our friends and family across the border.

The announcement reflects Canada’s success with its rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine — as of Monday, 81.3% of the country’s population has received at least two vaccine doses. The country’s case numbers have also been on a sharp decline since a post-holiday spike in January.

It’s been two years since Canada first imposed pandemic-related travel restrictions. Two years. So many of us never thought the pandemic, much less these restrictions, would go on for so long.

Yes, there’s plenty of reason to still be cautious — the coronavirus is still out there, there are still a lot of people who remain unvaccinated, and it’s possible that new mutations will crop up. But the Essex County Health Department’s program coordinator, Andrea Whitmarsh, put it best earlier this year: “We’re going to have to learn (to live) with COVID circulating at a certain level all the time.”

As we gradually return to life as it was pre-restrictions, Canada’s loosening of its travel restrictions is yet another welcome step forward.


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