Canada Lifts Ban on UK Flights, New Rule for Pre-Boarding Tests Goes Into Effect

January 7, 2021 Updated: January 8, 2021

Canada’s ban on flights arriving from the United Kingdom is being lifted, as a new rule that requires all passengers entering Canada to take pre-boarding tests goes into effect today.

The measure was first announced on Dec. 31, 2020, and goes into effective at midnight Jan. 7. All travelers must now present proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours before boarding a plane to Canada, according to a statement of the interim order from Transport Canada.

“We have made that decision based on the fact that we have now put in place, since that original ban, a pre-departure testing protocol … so that will replace the ban that existed for the U.K. and it applies, of course, to all countries in the world from which flights may come to Canada,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said during a press conference on Thursday.

Only two types of COVID-19 tests are acceptable for entry into Canada at this time. They must be either a molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP).

Garneau said people who were already vaccinated abroad for COVID-19 are still required to provide the PCR or the LAMP tests.

“The reason for this is that the science is not yet clear on whether somebody who’s vaccinated is not going to be able transmit COVID-19, so the requirement for the pre-departure test still applies,” Garneau said. (35:50-36:10)

Only a limited group of people are exempted from having to present this pre-boarding test, including children four years of age or under, transiting passengers, or individuals exempted by Transport Canada.

Travelers are still required to complete a 14-day quarantine upon arriving in Canada.

The new variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that causes COVID-19 was discovered in the United Kingdom in December 2020. The new variant is found to be more transmissible, but so far there is no evidence showing that it will cause more severe illness.

As of Jan. 7, Canada has reported 11 cases related to the new COVID-19 variant, according to a statement from Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.

“Given these virus variants have been reported in multiple countries, the Government of Canada continues to advise Canadians against non-essential travel outside of Canada and are advising extra caution if you must travel to countries where a variant of concern is circulating,” Tam wrote.