The Canadian government is now advising Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread.
"Now is not the time to travel," Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health said at a press conference on Wednesday. "The rapid spread of the Omicron variant on a global scale makes us fear the worst for Canadians that may think of travelling."
"We know that this may sound very drastic to many listening but we must avoid overloading our hospital system and our healthcare workers. I know we are all tired of this pandemic but I must call on the solidarity of all Canadians."
Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs of Canada, added that the federal government is asking Canadians to be "cautious" over the holiday season, reiterating that Canadians should not travel internationally if it is not necessary.
"As Omicron has reminded us, we’re still living in a pandemic and as we’re learning, this is an even more transmissible variant of the virus," Chrystia Freeland, Canada's Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance said Wednesday.
While Canada currently has a flight ban in place for 10 Southern African countries, due to transmission of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, indicated this is a measure that should be reassessed as the variant spreads in far more countries.
"I think this is a policy that needs to be revisited and that there is an active examination of that situation, seeing as this virus is in many countries," Dr. Tam said."