Travelling During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, you may have found yourself browsing travel websites and vlogs more than just a few times. Here are a few tips to consider while you're making plans for your next trip abroad.

Preparing for departure

Before you book any flights, it's important to keep in mind both the requirements to exit Canada during the pandemic, as well as the entry requirements for your destination country. You may still be required to mask during flights. Stay on top of news updates – rises in new COVID-19 variants may result in sudden and strict measures to control the spread of the virus.

If you plan on getting travel insurance, check with your provider to see what their COVID-19-related policies are. This includes whether your plan covers COVID-19-related medical expenses, as well as other non-COVID-19 emergency-related expenses, such as trip interruptions and quarantine costs. Ensure that you have back-up plans, should any delays for your return home occur.

Regardless of where you plan to travel, it's always a good idea to review the Travel Advice and Advisories posted on the Government of Canada website well before your departure. These notices inform you of situations within your destination country that can affect your safety and well-being. You'll also find information on specific entry and exit requirements related to COVID-19 and other travel-related considerations.

You can find the Government of Canada's Travel Advice and Advisories here: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories.

Staying safe while abroad

So, you've arrived at the destination country on your bucket list; now what? With the COVID-19 pandemic situation, you may be observing additional COVID-19 restrictions and public health cautions. Becoming infected with COVID-19 can not only affect your health, but also your return to Canada, so follow these strategies to reduce your risk of catching the virus.

  • Keep up to date with your local COVID-19 situation: since COVID-19 is affecting each part of the world differently, it is important to stay informed of local public health recommendations. Restrictions can affect how public transport, attractions and other facilities are operating. Be sure to budget plenty of time and include alternative plans in your itinerary for unexpected changes.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask when recommended: a well-fitted mask can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Masking continues to be recommended in many parts of the world as individuals vaccinated against COVID-19 can still become infected and transmit the virus. A mask that is well-fitted should fully cover your nose, mouth and chin. Follow local masking recommendations at your destination and when you are in crowded places, like shopping areas and on public transportation.
  • Practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette: COVID-19 can spread from one person to another in several ways, such as by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can limit the spread of the virus. If you need to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or in the bend of your arm (the inner side of your elbow), dispose of any used tissues and wash your hands right afterwards.
  • Practice physical distancing: Staying as far away as possible from others outside of your travel group can help to minimize the spread of the virus. Your risk of getting infected is higher in crowded places like large live performances and busy bars or sports events. Avoid or limit your time in these areas when possible. Stay informed and follow the gathering limits per the local public health recommendations at your destination.

Returning to Canada

With the ever-changing COVID-19 situation, there are many factors that can affect your plans to return to Canada. Staying on top of the Canadian entry requirements can not only make this process smoother, but more importantly reduce the risk of delaying your return.

If you are fully vaccinated, you will not need to do a COVID-19 entry test upon your return to Canada. Individuals who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated will be required to provide proof of either a negative COVID-19 molecular test result (i.e., polymerase chain reaction [PCR] tests) or a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test result as part of their entry requirements. If you recently had a positive COVID-19 test result and are no longer having any symptoms, you may be exempt from this pre-entry test depending on when you had tested positive.

All travellers must use the ArriveCAN platform to upload their travel information before and after entering Canada. ArriveCAN is a web platform and mobile app published by the Government of Canada to help enforce border security measures and reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout Canada.

Within 72 hours of your arrival to Canada, there are several documents that you will need to upload onto ArriveCAN. This includes your:

  • contact information and travel details
  • vaccination information
  • pre-entry test results
  • quarantine plan

Keep in mind that there are different quarantine and arrival COVID-19 testing requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers. For example, fully vaccinated travellers must complete a COVID-19 arrival test only if they have been randomly selected for mandatory testing. Your COVID-19 vaccination status may also affect your child's quarantine requirements if they are not fully vaccinated.

As part of Canada's entry requirements, you will need to provide your personal quarantine plan on ArriveCAN. A quarantine plan is important as you may test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival or may not meet the fully-vaccinated traveller requirements. This helps to ensure that you have a safe place to quarantine without putting other household members or close contacts at risk.

You can find more information about travel requirements and exemptions when entering Canada here: https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/exemptions/

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Travelling-During-the-COVID-19-Pandemic