Canada has lifted the travel ban on foreign travellers from Nigeria and nine other African countries.
This was disclosed by the country’s Health Minister, Jean-Yves Duclos, at a news conference on Friday.
Asides Nigeria, the travel restriction on flights was also lifted on South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Malawi and Egypt.
However, the country re-imposed testing as it warned that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 risks quickly overwhelming hospitals.
He said the lifting of the travel ban would take effect from 11:59 pm on Saturday.
The restriction had been announced last month “to slow the arrival of Omicron in Canada and buy us some time,” he said.
“But with Omicron now spreading within Canada it is no longer needed,” he added.
Duclos stated that pre-arrival negative PCR tests for all travellers would also be reinstated as of December 21, as he reiterated a government warning earlier this week that “now is not the time to travel.”
Officials said laboratory tests had confirmed as of Friday nearly 350 cases of the Omicron variant across Canada.
The total average daily Covid case count, meanwhile, has jumped by 45 per cent in the past week to about 5,000.
“It is expected the sheer number of (Omicron) cases could inundate the health system in a very short period of time,” said Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam.