Canada’s government announced that it had lifted on Friday, 17 December its travel ban on 10 African countries, including Egypt.
Canada’s Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos announced that the ban would be lifted effective on December 18.
“The global situation related to COVID19 and variant Omicron is unpredictable and constantly and rapidly changing. Canadians are advised to avoid non-essential travel abroad. Now is not the time to travel,” a statement said.
Duclos added that “while we recognize that this initial emergency measure created controversy, we believe it was a necessary measure to slow the arrival of Omicron in Canada at a time of uncertainty”. He noted that given the current situation in Canada this measure has served its purpose and “is no longer necessary.
The decision drew a lot of criticism, as multiple Egyptian Members of Parliament expressed their disappointment on Canada’s decision to ban travel from Egypt and other African countries, particularly as Canada is known for having a large Egyptian community in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.
Egyptians living in Canada similarly expressed their discontent on social media, as they described the inhumane treatment they experienced since arriving to Canada, in addition to taking three time-consuming and expensive PCR tests for their journey outbound from Egypt: first, a PCR in Egypt, second, at a different country, and a third in Canada.
On Friday, the Ministry of Health and Population in Egypt reported its first three cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 at the Cairo International Airport.
The cases were detected when the genomes of 26 positive COVID-19 cases at the Cairo International Airport were sequenced. Two of the infected individuals in question are asymptomatic while one is experiencing mild symptoms.