The end of PCR tests for Canadians: A loosening of the border is a cause for concern

PCR testing is no longer mandatory for Canadians returning from a stay of less than 72 hours in the US, a measure that delights residents near the border, but worries experts with the arrival of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

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“It really is a relief. We have friends and family [aux États-Unis] ”, testifies Faith Gower, owner of Variétés Hemmingford, a company located in Montérégie, 5 kilometers from the border.

As of Tuesday, fully vaccinated Canadians visiting the United States by road or air no longer have to submit a PCR test result when they return home.

But despite this relaxation, MI Gower doesn’t plan to cross the border anytime soon because of the Omicron variant.

loosely less logical

The relaxation of border measures planned by Ottawa made sense a few days ago, but it is getting less and less, says virologist Benoit Barbeau.

“Because the Omicron variant has spread across the planet, the PCR test should be forced again, no matter how long we’ve been outside,” he says.

One of the main problems with this new variant is that it can be transmitted even to people who have been vaccinated.

These border measures are partly symbolic. There are more useful things, such as better personal protection and vaccination [avec une troisième dose] ”, confirms Andre Villette, an immunologist at the Institute of Clinical Research in Montreal.

From the start of the pandemic through October 31, Canadian Border Services officers intercepted 374 cases of COVID-19 test results they suspected were fraudulent.

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With Rafael Perot, QMI Agency

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