Canada to ditch pre-arrival COVID testing requirement for travelers -source

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Passengers wait for flights while wearing mandatory face masks as a "Healthy Airport" initiative is launched for travel, taking into account social distancing protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada June 23, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio/File Photo

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March 16 (Reuters) - Canada will remove the need for incoming fully vaccinated travelers to get tested for COVID-19 before entering the country, starting on April 1, a source familiar with the plan said on Wednesday.

The government is expected to announce the easing of testing requirements for people entering the country by all modes of transport on Thursday, according to the government source, who declined to be named because the plan was not yet public.

Pre-entry testing requirements would still be in effect for partially or unvaccinated travelers.

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As the effects of the Omicron COVID wave wanes, the federal government has taken a more cautious approach to easing health restrictions than some of the provincial governments.

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, said last week it would scrap virtually all pandemic-related public health measures by end-April, citing the reduced threat of the pandemic. Other provinces, including Alberta and Quebec, have also announced an easing of restrictions. read more

The move could further boost Canadian air carriers who were seeing a bounce in spring travel after a slump due to the spread of coronavirus infections. read more

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp had reported plans to remove the testing requirement earlier.

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Reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Tim Ahmann

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