Canada is granting a temporary exemption to its COVID-19 testing rule in third countries for travelers leaving South Africa after receiving criticism for the policy.
From December 14 to January 7, 2022, all travelers on indirect flights between South Africa and Canada will no longer have to provide a negative COVID-19 test from a third country, according to the Canadian government website.
Instead, travelers can use a test from an accredited laboratory in South Africa if done at least 48 hours before departure. A positive test result can also be used if it was obtained at least 14 days and not more than 180 days before departure.
Travelers’ flights must also depart within 18 hours from the transit country, according to the government.
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Previously, those traveling from South Africa had to get a negative COVID-19 molecular test before leaving for a third country, regardless of their vaccination status.
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The requirement also applies to nine other African countries, but there is no indication that the exemption will apply to them if travelers have stayed in those countries 14 days before traveling to Canada.
Countries include Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe.
Global News has contacted Health Canada to see if the exemption will be extended to these countries, but has not had a response at the time of publication.
Canada has been criticized for its travel restrictions since the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa and countries around the world.
Earlier this week, Michael Embaie, president of the African Community Association of Calgary, said refusing to accept South Africa’s tests was racist.
Embaie said community members felt hurt.
They believe it is important for the federal government to address what they say is subtle racism behind Canada’s new COVID-19 travel rules.
âYou cannot treat one country differently from another. Looks like the colonial mentality is not gone.
– With files from the Canadian Press
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