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Canada's travel exemption for stranded travellers in South Africa extended

After temporarily lifting parts of its travel ban to allow certain passengers from South Africa to return home, the Canadian government is extending its exemption.

Thanks to new rules announced on Saturday, Canadians travelling home on indirect flights from South Africa won’t be required to provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test from a third country until at least Jan. 7.

Additionally, the exemption now applies to Canadian passengers on all indirect flights from South Africa to Canada, regardless of the carrier. It is also required that flights to Canada depart within 18 hours of arrival in the country of transit.

First announced last week, the exemption was initially only applicable to those flying from Johannesburg or Cape Town to Frankfurt, Germany on a Lufthansa flight that left on or before Dec. 13, before travelling by either Lufthansa or Air Canada from Germany to Canada.

Ten countries are currently listed on Canada’s travel ban – Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Canadians who have visited any of these countries within the last 14 days have been expected to obtain a negative PCR COVID-19 test in a third country before returning to Canada, regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated.

The exemption, however, appears to only apply to travellers from South Africa.

Instead of providing a third negative test result, travellers are just expected obtain a negative PCR COVID-19 test from an accredited lab in South Africa within 48 hours of their departure. A positive test result can also be provided if it was obtained between 14 and 180 days before departing.

The government continues to face backlash for the recently implemented travel restrictions, introduced in response to the Omicron COVID-19 variant. Additionally, rapidly changing advice and a maze of testing and quarantine requirements have made travelling both confusing and chaotic for Canadians. Top Stories

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