Canada to change travel rules due to COVID-19 variants

OTTAWA, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once again urged Canadians on Tuesday not to travel abroad as his government could change travel rules very quickly due to COVID-19 variants.

At his Tuesday press conference in Ottawa, Trudeau called on Canadians who have booked trips to cancel them as a vacation is not worth it given the uncertainty and chance of either contracting the virus or ending up stranded abroad.

He said his government is closely following the latest science on more transmissible strains, including those from Britain and Brazil.

Canada has reported a total of 718,828 COVID-19 cases and 18,238 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon, according to CTV.

Canada has verified 23 cases with the variant first reported in Britain and two cases with the variant first reported in South Africa, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada on Tuesday.

The country's average case count is close to 6,700 new cases being reported daily over the past week. There is an average of about 4,775 individuals with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals, over 880 of whom are in critical care, and over 140 deaths are being reported each day, said the agency.

Despite a significant short-term gap in deliveries of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to Canada, Trudeau said on Tuesday he's still confident the country is on track to vaccinate every Canadian who wants a shot by September.

The government has kept calling Canadians not to take any non-essential travel. But Canadian airlines and travel companies continue to offer vacation packages and flight deals to warmer destinations, with flights departing from Canada daily.

Canada has had restrictions on international travelers entering the country since mid-March 2020, as well as a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for anyone who returns from an international travel.

Last month, the Trudeau government imposed new travel rules, including the requirement to show a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding a flight into Canada and flights from Britain were banned.

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