Nunavut Post

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Rationality is knocking on the door of Canada’s COVID border rules

Canada's COVID border rules

Key Takeaways:

  • In St. Bart’s, we are no longer looking for bogeymen and scapegoats.
  • This is a step forward!

Here’s an uninvited, unofficial travel warning: If you feel safe venturing abroad now. After taking a sober assessment of the situation at home and where you intend to travel, then saddle up and ride. Pay no attention to federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.

“Travelling Canadians may contract the virus and become stranded abroad,” Duclos warned this week, reinforcing previous long-standing advice against foreign travel but not domestic travel, which is different.

Of course, he is correct: COVID can be caught anywhere the virus is present, and getting sick thousands of kilometers away from home is no one’s idea of a good time. The less touristy your destination, the more likely you will become stranded.

Reports of mass cancellations during Omicron’s march to dominance are thus entirely understandable and reasonable. But also, indeed, evidence that Canadians are smart enough after 21 months of this nightmare to assess and manage such risks.

Canada’s COVID border rules; Image from Globe and mail

The federal government lifted a travel ban on foreigners who had visited 11 southern African countries in the previous two weeks on Friday.

The ban was a sensible policy shared by nearly every comparable country on the planet. It was worth a shot to delay Omicron’s arrival in Canada; even two or three days could theoretically be beneficial with a variant as contagious as this one.

Broadening those restrictions as Omicron spread might have made sense, but we didn’t because cracking down on Europe is more complex than Eswatini.

Last year, we were on the verge of a full-fledged anti-travel panic, a perfect storm of legitimate concerns about the Delta variant and populist rage against the wealthy and powerful who refused to suffer in the cold alongside their fellow Canadians.

Several provinces were leading the charge to tighten border controls a year ago. Instead, they appear to be the ones pushing back now.

“Given the velocity of transmission that we are seeing from Omicron in European countries and elsewhere,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney told the National Post’s editorial board this week, “the notion that further stringency on travel can prevent widespread transmission, I think…(is) unscientific.”

Source: national post

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