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Friday, October 22, 2021

Minimal increase in international travel to Canada since fully vaxxed welcomed

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OTTAWA — Canada saw only a slight increase in the volume of foreign nationals entering the country in the first week after the border opened to those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to Canada Border Services Agency data, between Sept. 6 and Sept. 12, 95,381 foreign nationals who were travelling by commercial air landed in Canada, compared to 79,886 the week prior.

The government announced in July that anyone fully vaccinated with one of Health Canada’s approved vaccines would be able to enter the country for discretionary purposes as of Sept. 7, so long as they abided by additional COVID-19 screening measures.

Travellers must have received the “full series,” or a combination of vaccines, 14 days prior to departure, submitted that information on the ArriveCAN app or on the equivalent website, provided a molecular test result taken no more than 72 hours before their scheduled departure flight, and taken another test upon arrival.

Commercial air traveller volume by foreign nationals hovered around the 70,000 through most of August and between 15,000 to 45,000 per week in June and July.

The August increase correlates with Canada opening its doors to fully vaccinated Americans for non-essential purposes. At the same time, several airports, including Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport and Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport, began once again receiving international flights.

While there was a slight increase in arrivals between Sept. 6 to Sept. 12, the higher traveller volume is still nowhere near pre-pandemic levels. More than 326,000 foreign nationals arrived in Canada during the same week in 2019.

All total, international traveller volume – including Canadians – sat at 209,838, compared to 677,745 in the same week of 2019.

Transport Canada announced on Tuesday that it will lift the months-long ban on direct flights from India starting Sept. 26 at 11:59 p.m. EDT, with enhanced screening measures in place upon arrival.

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