Canada drops travel advisory

Canada has lifted its warning against nonessential foreign travel.

The new guidance, which reverses an advisory from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, signals the success of Canada's COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Reuters reported.

"The beginnings of the transition away from the more blanket approach really recognizes vaccines are very effective at preventing severe outcome," Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said during a press briefing, according to the news service. 

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Tam added that data indicate "a continued decline in disease activity nationally and in most jurisdictions."

Officials in Ontario, the country's most populated province, also announced that they would aim to lift all COVID-19 restrictions, including requiring masking and proof of vaccination, by March 2022. Provincial officials noted that they would also begin removing capacity limits in the "vast majority" of public spaces on Monday, Reuters added. 

The changes come after Ontario spent much of the pandemic in lockdown due to high COVID-19 infections and hospital occupancy rates.

"This plan is built for the long term," Ontario Premier Doug Ford said, according to Reuters. "It will guide us safely through the winter and out of this pandemic, while avoiding lockdowns and ensuring we don’t lose the hard-fought gains we have made."

Despite the changing guidance, Tam noted that "now is not the time to just freely go wherever." 

Though Ottawa rescinded the warning to avoid unnecessary travel late on Thursday night, warnings against international cruise travel remain in place. 

As of Oct. 16, 82 percent of Canadians above age 12 were fully vaccinated, according to data from the Canadian government