Canada is increasing testing requirements for international travellers and dropping its travel ban on flights from 10 African countries as the government tries to quash the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Starting Tuesday, all travellers will once again need to get a COVID-19 molecular test before returning to Canada. The announcement from Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos rolls back an exemption announced last month that fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents taking short trips abroad, under 72 hours, wouldn’t need proof of a negative test before returning home.

“As of Dec. 21, the requirement for pre-arrival testing will be in place again for trips of all duration,” he said, adding the pre-arrival tests must be taken outside of Canada.

Duclos said the government has expanded capacity to also test arrivals at Canadian airports, growing it from testing 11,000 air travellers a day on Nov. 30 to 20,960 tests as of Dec. 16, and plans on building up capacity at the land border too.

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