Canada & US: Canada to ease some international travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers starting July 5
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A sign that says US border is closed at the US/Canada border in Lansdown, Ont.., March 22, 2020. The Canadian Press Images/Lars Hagberg

Ottawa announced yesterday it’smoving ahead with the first phase of its reopening plan but will continue to observe and follow available and scientific data to protect the health and safety of Canadians.

The government said fully vaccinated Canadians and foreign nationals allowed to enter Canada will not only be exempt from the federal mandatory quarantine measures or take a COVID-19 test on day-8 but travellers arriving by air will not be required to stay in government-sanctioned hotel provided they have proof of vaccination.

The precautionary measures are being taken based on successful vaccination roll out with maximum cooperation from Canadians according to the statement issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada. As of June 18, 24,410,109 people (64.23% of the population) have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 4,873,333 people (12.82% of the population) are fully vaccinated

In a-June 22 news conference, Prime Minister Justine Trudeau indicated the federal government’s intensions to further loosen up border restrictions this summer if the roll plan is successful—but government will not hasten to open the Canada—US border if convergence of travellers poses a threat to public health.  

(Video source : Global News from YouTube)

The Prime Minister’s comments come on the back of mounting pressure by the Canadian tourism and hospitability industry who have been hard hit by the pandemic and attendant closures. In an interview with Bloomberg, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce deplored the border closure saying the science does not support the closure.

The continuing border closure which has been extended to July 21 has raffled the feathers of some US lawmakers including Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Brian Higgins who are advocating for an “evidence-based plan” for reopening.

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Analysis

Variants of concern including the highly contagious Covid 19-Delta variant which was first discovered in India is now circulating worldwide. WHO has warned that Delta variant is fast becoming the dominant strain of Covid-19 globally.

This makes Ottawa’s decision to hold back a blanket reopening of the border to travellers even more necessary until more Canadians are fully vaccinated since “the Delta variant is now in all provinces and at least one of our territories” according to Canada’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam.

While more than 60 percent of Canadians have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, there are apprehensions about the prospect of a fourth wave .

The United States is leading Canada in its population share of fully vaccinated individuals, however vaccine hesitancy is becoming a challenge and the enthusiasm in many states is waning in the face of new data that says Delta is responsible for 10 percent of all Covid cases in the US.

While Canadians yearn to return to pre-covid-19 days, it is crucial to do so when it’s safe do so— When more Canadians and travellers are fully vaccinated to avert a fourth wave.

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