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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Canada will loosen border restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers starting Feb. 28

U.S.’ northern neighbor will begin accepting COVID-19 rapid tests, randomize on-arrival surveillance testing

Niagara Falls visitors enjoy a view of the falls in October 2020.
Niagara Falls visitors enjoy a view of the falls in October 2020.

Canada will allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter the country with negative COVID-19 rapid test results starting Feb. 28, Canada’s Public Health Agency announced Tuesday. 

Rapid tests must be taken the day before arrival at the border or flight departure. Only rapid tests “administered by a laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth service” will be accepted. At-home tests will not be accepted. PCR tests, which will still be accepted, must be taken within 72 hours prior to arrival. 

The country will also resume the randomized on-arrival testing surveillance program put in place before the omicron wave, but travelers selected to participate in the program will not have quarantine while awaiting their results. 

Unvaccinated travelers will continue to be required to quarantine for 14 days and take COVID-19 tests upon arrival and on the eighth day of their quarantine period. The Canadian government’s definition of fully vaccinated includes those who have received at least two doses of an approved vaccine, which includes the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, or at least one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

The Canadian government cited Canada’s high vaccination rate, large supply of tests and treatments, low hospitalization rate and a passing omicron wave in their announcement.

“Today’s announcements are a reflection of the progress we have made against this current omicron variant,” Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada’s minister of health, said in a statement. “As we have said all along, Canada’s border measures will remain flexible and adaptable, for potential future scenarios.”

Foreign nationals seeking to cross the Canadian border previously had to submit a negative PCR test result, a quarantine plan and arrival information within 72 hours prior to arrival. 

Toronto attracted UB and other Buffalo-area college students for its night-life, concerts and culture before the pandemic. Niagara Falls, ON was also a popular destination for its tourist attractions and view of the falls. 

UB has a 99% on-campus vaccination rate among students. 

Grant Ashley is a senior news/features editor and can be reached at 


Grant Ashley is the editor in chief of The Spectrum. He's also reported for NPR, WBFO, WIVB and The Buffalo News. He enjoys taking long bike rides, baking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon. He can be found on the platform formerly known as Twitter at @Grantrashley. 



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