Following WHO Declaration, Canada Affirms COVID Emergency Status - But No Renewal of Travel Restrictions

Following the WHO's 27JAN meeting which concluded, as Open Jaw reported, that COVID-19 remained a global pandemic and public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), the Canadian government has announced it is following suit.

In a statement, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says it "acknowledges the WHO Director General's determination that COVID-19 remains a PHEIC, as the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to evolve and is still circulating widely across Canada and in many other countries worldwide."

The PHAC's 30JAN statement notes that: "The Government of Canada will continue to work with the WHO, international partners and with Canadian provinces and territories to monitor the COVID-19 situation and to determine the best course of action to limit the spread of the virus and mitigate health and societal impacts. PHAC will continue to provide regular public updates as new information becomes available."

Saying that Ottawa will continue to make science-based decisions for "protecting the health and safety of all Canadians,"  the PHAC statement adds that the federal government will continue to collaborate with provincial and territorial authorities "to implement a long-term, sustainable approach to the ongoing management of COVID-19."

The PHAC also described ongoing work related to the virus, explaining that it "continues to contribute to and assess the global epidemiology of COVID-19, including working with international partners to enhance viral genomic sequencing capacity. There is a robust laboratory monitoring program in place across the provinces and territories to identify SARS-CoV-2 variants in Canada, including Omicron lineage variants of concern."

However, the PHAC statement did not mention travel or any return to COVID-related travel restrictions that virtually grounded the industry for over two years.

All remaining COVID-related travel and border restrictions were lifted by the federal government 01OCT, 2022, and as Open Jaw has reported, despite seasonal spikes in cases of the virus and hospitalizations, Ottawa has declined to reinstate masking or vaccination mandates. It appears the government plans to stay the course on that policy even with the WHO's announcement.

The PHAC's 30JAN statement merely reiterates long-standing government advice for the mitigation of the spread of the virus: "As COVID-19 activity continues and hospitalizations remain elevated in Canada, layers of prevention, including keeping up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations and personal protective practises remain our best approach to reduce the risk of developing severe illness and limit the burden on the health system."

Lynn Elmhirst


With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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