Chinese students studying in Canada are excited about the expansion of the list of acceptable COVID-19 vaccines.
The changes, which take effect on Nov. 30, mean these students no longer need to quarantine if they have been inoculated with either the Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines. A third vaccine, Covaxin, common in India, has also been accepted.
“I’m so excited about the new travel policy,” said Yury Lin, a student at University of Toronto. “Me and my classmates who are also from China (have been) waiting (for) Sinopharm and Sinovac to be accepted by Canadian government for a long time.”
The move was among changes the federal government announced on Nov. 19. For example, vaccinated Canadians will no longer have to supply a COVID-19 test before arriving in Canada after a trip of 72 hours or less.
The new policy is especially beneficial to travellers from China. According to China’s National Health Commissions, over 85 per cent of residents in China are vaccinated, all with Sinopharm or Sinovac.
Due to the pandemic, Lin, the University of Toronto student, took classes online while still living in China this semester.
She decided to return to campus in Toronto in December after she saw the new policy. “I got lucky,” she said. “I don’t need to quarantine. The new policy will save me at least one thousand dollars.”
Before the change, international students needed to pay hotel fees and three meals a day for the required quarantines.
Dalhousie University student Ziwei Chen arrived in Canada in early August. Canadian rules then required a 14-day quarantine, including three nights in government-designated hotels and 11 days in school-designated hotels.
“Though my school has covered half of quarantine fees,” Chen said, “it still cost me almost two thousand dollars.”
Xiaoyue Wang is a student at Cape Breton University. “Me and my friend were uncertain about our trips to Canada before. The policy was always changing,” she said in Mandarin.
“I booked my flight tickets several months in advance. But most of the flights were cancelled due to the changing policy.
“It’s really good to hear the news. Travellers who have these three vaccines no longer need to worry about quarantine or not (being) qualified to enter Canada,” Wang said.
The changes mean Canada has gone in one year from a country allowing very little international travel to one that allows vaccinated travellers to enter without any quarantine.
But Lin had a different opinion.
“Maybe it’s not a good idea to cancel quarantine,” she said. “Quarantine makes the country much safer. It’s a big reason why there are less COVID cases in China.”
About the author
Lan comes from China