South Africa travel to Canada
(Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
  • Fully vaccinated South Africans can now visit Canada for non-essential purposes without needing to quarantine.
  • The updated regulations came into effect on Tuesday and considers travellers fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their last dose of an approved vaccine.
  • Children between the ages of 12 to 17 also need to be vaccinated to avoid quarantine.
  • But with vaccines in South Africa not yet approved for anybody under the age of 18, travelling to Canada with teenagers will be tricky.
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Canada has reopened to fully vaccinated travellers visiting for non-essential purposes. But teenagers travelling from South Africa will still be forced to endure a two-week quarantine.

Canada is the latest country to ease restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers, following in the footsteps of several European nations which have reopened to South Africans. The move marks an important milestone in accessing North America, with South Africans still heavily restricted from entering the United States (US), even if they are fully vaccinated.

The new travel reprieve, which came into effect on Tuesday, allows fully vaccinated South Africans to enter Canada as tourists without needing to quarantine for 14 days. Previously, South Africans were banned from entering Canada, unless they qualified for a travel exemption – for workers, students, or compassionate reasons – and were still required to quarantine.

Travellers are considered to be fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving their final dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Only vaccines approved by Canada – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca-Covishield, and Johnson & Johnson’ Janssen – will be accepted.

Proof of vaccination must be submitted via ArriveCAN, through the mobile app or website. A valid pre-arrival Covid-19 molecular test result, taken no more than 72 hours before flying to Canada, must also be uploaded to ArriveCAN. Rapid antigen tests are not accepted.

Once mandatory information – including flight, passport, and travel itinerary details – is submitted to ArriveCAN, the visitor will receive a digital receipt which must be presented prior to boarding. In addition, passengers must still travel with a physical copy of their vaccination certificate and Covid-19 test result.

Travellers may be randomly selected for Covid-19 testing on arrival in Canada. Those who test positive will be required to self-isolate.

And while South African travellers can look forward to a quarantine-free holiday in Canada, teenagers won't be so lucky. Unvaccinated children under 12-years-old can skip quarantine, but are not allowed to attend school or day-care for two weeks.

Unvaccinated children between the ages of 12 to 17 will be required to quarantine for two weeks. With vaccines in South Africa not yet approved for use on anybody younger than 18-years-old, teenagers looking to visit Canada will be forced to stay indoors.

In the US and Canada, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been administered to children between the ages of 12 to 17 since May.

Almost 54 million vaccine doses have been administered in Canada, with more than 67% of the population being fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a rate higher than the US' and the European Union's.

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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