The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising Americans to avoid travel to Canada due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country.
In a new travel health notice, the CDC is categorizing Canada at a level 4 for COVID-19 transmission, the highest level on the scale. For more on the specific CDC criteria that determine the levels, click here.
If you must travel, the agency says you should be fully vaccinated beforehand and take precautions like wearing a face mask and social distancing. The CDC warns that vaccinated travelers are still at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants like omicron.
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Travel over the border had been limited during the pandemic but over time restricts were slowly rolled back, with talk as recently as November of allowing more flexibility for leisure travel to allow more trips between the countries. However, on December 15 the Canadian government, watching rising omicron cases across the world, advised its citizens to avoid any non-essential global travel.
The CDC recommends getting a viral test one to three days before any international trip. A negative COVID-19 test result is required no more than one day before travel when you are returning to the U.S. As with any trip, check local rules and restrictions before travel. Different airlines have different safety protocols in place, including testing and vaccine requirements in some cases.
If you are sick, are in a COVID-19 isolation period or have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you should not travel at all, the CDC says.