Canada has lifted the ban imposed on travels from 10 African countries, including Nigeria. Canada Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos, announced the decision at a media briefing on Friday.
The development comes almost three weeks after the Canadian government banned 10 African countries — including Nigeria — following the detection of Omicron cases in the country.
The lifting of the ban will take effect from today (December 18).
“While we recognise the controversial nature of such a prohibition, we believe it was a necessary measure to slow the arrival of Omicron in Canada and buy us some time.
“Given the current situation, this measure has served its purpose and is no longer needed,” Duclos said.
Canada first implemented the ban on November 26 to seven African countries, but within days expanded it to 10: South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt.
The ban was originally 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 Nigeria and the other countries.
However, African political leaders and scientists criticised Canada for only including African countries in its ban, even though the Omicron variant had been detected in 44 countries at the time.