OTTAWA—As of April 1, vaccinated travelers entering Canada will no longer have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test as the country enters a “transition” period of the pandemic, federal government officials said Thursday.

“Fully vaccinated travelers may still continue to undergo random testing upon entry to Canada, but they are no longer required to quarantine while awaiting their results,” federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said during a virtual news conference.

“Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers will continue to be tested with COVID-19 molecular tests on arrival and on day eight, while they quarantine for 14 days.”

All travellers, regardless of vaccination status, must still use the mobile app ArriveCAN to log their travel details and vaccine information.

Previously, all travelers aged five and up entering Canada by land, air or water needed to provide proof of a negative test to cross the border.

Accepted tests had included antigen tests observed or administered by a health-care professional one day before travel, molecular tests taken within 72 hours prior to departure, or a previous negative molecular test taken between 10 and 180 days before entering the country.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra also said Ottawa is sticking to its policy of requiring travelers to be fully vaccinated before boarding a plane or train in Canada, and added that wearing masks in airports and on planes is still required.

“Passengers on a cruise will need to take an antigen test no more than one day before the scheduled departure, but will no longer be required to be tested before getting off the cruise ship,” Alghabra said.

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But Duclos cautioned that rolling back testing measures might not be a permanent change.

“Let us remember that all measures are subject to review. So we’ll continue to adjust them as the epidemiological situation here in Canada and abroad evolves,” he said.

The minister said the country’s pandemic outlook is much better now than it was two years ago, when the world was plunged into the early weeks of the public health crisis.

Citing that the majority of eligible Canadians have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the improved availability of rapid tests, Duclos said the country was easing into a “transition phase” of the pandemic.

“As the weather warms and people spend more time outside, we can expect to see transmission decline in the coming months. But we have to be prepared for a waning of collective and individual immunity,” he said.

PR

Raisa Patel is an Ottawa-based reporter covering federal politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @R_SPatel

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