TORONTO (AP) – Canada announced Monday that it will begin allowing fully vaccinated US citizens to enter Canada on August 9 and rest of the world on September 7.
Officials said the 14-day quarantine requirement will be lifted as of August 9 for eligible travelers who currently reside in the United States and have completed the full course of the COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada.
Public Security Secretary Bill Blair, who said he spoke with US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mallorcas on Friday, said the US has yet to submit any plan to change current land border restrictions. Canadians may fly to the United States with a negative COVID-19 test.
When asked in Washington if the US would reciprocate, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “We continue to rethink our travel restrictions. Any decisions to reopen your trip will be made by our public health and medical experts. … I wouldn’t look at it with mutual intent. “
Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins, whose county includes Buffalo and Niagara Falls, said the US “did not give the serious attention it deserves to the opening of the northern border, and there is no excuse.”
Canadian officials also announced that children who are not vaccinated but traveling with vaccinated parents will not need to be quarantined, but will have to avoid group activities, including schools and kindergartens.
Transport Minister Omar Algabra also said the ban on direct flights from India would be extended until August 21 due to the delta option. “The situation in India is still very serious,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that Canada could begin allowing fully vaccinated Americans to enter the country from mid-August for non-essential travel and should be able to accommodate fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September.
Canada leads the G20 in terms of vaccination rates, with about 80% of eligible Canadians vaccinated with the first dose and over 50% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated.
“We even drove U, S this weekend in terms of fully vaccinated people,” Trudeau said. “With increasing vaccination rates and declining COVID-19 cases, we can move forward with adjusted border measures.”
First and foremost, the US opening is “recognizing our unique connection, especially between border communities,” Trudeau said.
In the early days of the pandemic, the US and Canadian governments closed more than 5,500 miles (8,800 km) of border to non-essential traffic. With the increase in vaccinations and the decline in infection rates, some were annoyed that the two governments had not developed plans to fully reopen the border.
Earlier this month, Canada began to loosen its restrictions, allowing fully vaccinated Canadians or permanent legal residents to return to Canada without quarantine. But among the demands is a negative test for the virus before they return and another when they return.
Pressure on Canada is growing to continue to loosen border restrictions that have been in effect since March 2020. Granting travel exemptions to Canada amid the pandemic is politically sensitive and Trudeau is expected to call federal elections next month.
Canadian officials have said they would like 75% of eligible Canada residents to be fully vaccinated before easing border restrictions for tourists and business travelers. The Canadian government expects that by the end of July enough vaccine will be delivered to 80% of eligible Canadians who will be fully vaccinated. The US did not allow the export of vaccines to Canada until early May.
Commercial traffic between the two countries has typically shuttled back and forth since the start of the pandemic.
The U.S. Travel Association estimates that the monthly border closure costs $ 1.5 billion. Canadian officials say approximately 22 million foreign visitors visited Canada in 2019, of which approximately 15 million were from the United States.
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