The government of Canada has lifted a travel ban placed on Nigeria and nine other African countries in the wake of Omicron Covid-19 variant detection by South African scientists.
A statement by the Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos on Friday said Canada is lifting the ban starting December 18 at 11:59 p.m, 2021.
Canada first implemented the ban on November 26 to seven African countries, but within days expanded to 10, including South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt.
The ban was originally set to expire on January 31.
Canada will also re-introduce pre-arrival tests for all new incoming travellers.
Currently, Canadian residents can leave and come back within 72 hours without needing a pre-arrival COVID-19 test. A negative pre-arrival test will be required for all new arrivals to Canada starting December 21.
The government said the bans were originally put in place due to a high rate of travellers testing positive for coronavirus from the affected countries.
However, African political leaders and scientists criticized Canada for only including African countries in its ban, even though the Omicron variant had been detected in 44 countries at the time.