Liberal Minister implies Canadians Should Cancel Their Holiday Plans due to Omicron variant
"I've cancelled my Christmas party...I do think Canadians need to continue to be vigilant," said Associate Health Minister Carolyn Bennett amid news of the new COVID-19 variant emerging in South Africa.
This news followed upon Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos's move today to limit travel from seven countries in southern Africa, a region that has reported cases of a new — and possibly more infectious — coronavirus variant.
Starting today, all foreign nationals who have travelled through South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini or Mozambique in the last 14 days will be barred from entering Canada.
Because there are no direct flights between the region and Canada, most travellers transit through airports in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S.
Starting today, travellers must get a molecular test in the country they connect through on their way to Canada.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Canadians have been warned about the risk of travelling during a global pandemic for nearly two years.
"We've been asking them to pay close attention to travel measures, to border restrictions," he said. "But if any individual, any Canadian citizen, is having a hard time figuring out how to get back home, I encourage them to call the emergency watch centre to speak with an official. They will try and work with them to figure out how to get them home safely."
Despite this, Canadians have not reacted kindly to Bennett's wishes to minimize holiday plans for a second consecutive year.
"You stay home alone. I will spend the holidays with family and friends with a huge smile on my face," wrote one angry Twitter commenter.
"You have to show Canadians a light at end or tunnel . We don’t even know yet that the vacc is not effective against this variant. And if it’s not it can be tweaked to be so our boosters will be. We need to learn to live with this and get back to a normal life. Enough," wrote another.