Canada has become the latest country to lift travel bans on Nigeria, South Africa and other African countries red listed over the Omicron variant.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced on Friday that the ban will be lifted on December 18 at 11:59 p.m.
Mr Duclos also disclosed that Canada will re-introduce pre-arrival tests for all incoming travellers. The negative pre-arrival test will be required from December 21
The travel ban was initially placed on seven African countries but was later extended to ten, including Nigeria and was set to expire on January 31.
The government said the bans were originally put in place due to a high rate of travellers testing positive for coronavirus from those countries.
The travel ban was widely criticised by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum which faulted the ban, describing it as “precipitate, unfair and discriminatory.”
The Buhari-led regime then banned citizens of Canada, UK, Saudi Arabia and Argentina from entering the country in retaliation to the travel restriction placed on Nigeria and other African countries for fear of the Omicron variant.
In November, two travellers had tested positive for the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus. After that, the Ottawa public health body advised individuals that travelled to Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Namibia within 14 days before arriving in Ottawa to immediately self-isolate and seek COVID-19 testing at the province assessment centre.
This development follows the British government’s removal of Nigeria and the other African nations from its COVID-19 travel red list.