Mandatory test upon return from China: Will Canada follow suit in the United States?

The end of China’s COVID-free policy is forcing the United States to require a negative test for travelers arriving from the country grappling with an explosion in virus cases.

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• Also read: The United States requires COVID testing for travelers from China

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Will Canada follow in the footsteps of the United States, Japan and Italy? France is still thinking while Ottawa maintains that implementing such a measure is not currently on the table.

“We’re watching the situation closely as it evolves,” Benoit Barbeau, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at UQAM, says in an interview with LCN. Canada is clearly always a little behind with these sorts of decisions.

Mr Barbeau insists that committing to a negative test for people from China remains a “good decision”.

More than 130 subtypes of coronavirus have been detected in recent months on Chinese soil.

For her part, Dr. Cécile Tremblay noted that the COVID cases in Quebec are mainly due to local traffic and will not be caused by people arriving from abroad.

“What you have to watch out for in people coming from China are the variants. What could change the equation is the emergence of a variant that is more resistant to our immune system,” warns the microbiologist and infectious disease specialist.

She adds that random screening will prevent new variants.

“Screening people when they arrive, we’ve done that for years and it doesn’t prevent COVID transmission everywhere,” she says.

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For their part, Quebecers surveyed at Montreal Trudeau Airport are divided.

“A little test does not take [beaucoup] of time. “We do it quickly, thank you, good afternoon, then we protect everyone,” said one of the travelers.

“I think we’re all sick and have to come back. Diseases, he’ll always get them. We need to live,” another asks.

At this time, Ottawa is still not considering mandating a negative COVID test on people returning from China.

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