Canada-US border closure extended for another month


Canada is extending a ban on non-essential travel with the United States and the rest of the world until July 21, officials said on Friday, prompting frustration from businesses anxious about the economic damage.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced earlier in the day that the current USA land border measures would remain in place until July 21.

"As we have said, the government is planning measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, Permanent Residents, and others who are now permitted to enter Canada", Blair noted.

The border between Canada and the USA has remained closed to all nonessential travel for over a year.

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood firm, saying the border would stay largely shut until 75% of Canadians had received the first of a two-dose coronavirus vaccine and 20% had been given both shots.

Trudeau said he spoke with the premiers about the border on a Thursday night call and there was a consensus to maintain the status quo.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu last week said the government was preparing to lift quarantine protocols for citizens who had received their second dose of a vaccine.

"As we said, we are looking forward to getting back to normal as soon as possible, but we're not out of this pandemic yet", Trudeau said. "In the initial phase we are going to be working with the ArriveCan app in ways that people can upload an image of their proof of vaccination ... so that border agents on their return to Canada can verify that they are fully vaccinated".

'Our number one priority as we fight COVID 19 is keeping Canadians safe.

Can I ask someone if they got a COVID shot?

"Even a fully vaccinated individual can pass on COVID-19 to someone who is not vaccinated", Trudeau told reporters.

Canada is maintaining its prohibition on most US travellers, including those who are fully vaccinated, because these arrivals could act as COVID-19 vectors, spreading the virus to communities that are not yet sufficiently covered.

With new deliveries expected next month, Canada should have enough doses by the end of July to fully vaccinate every eligible Canadian.

In the "medium-term", Trudeau said, there will be a more formal federal program tied to provincial health records which will give border guards access to vaccination records.

"These are discussions that will end in the next coming weeks so that people can start travelling".

It says the first step will be to allow people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 - and who are permitted to enter the country - to forego mandatory hotel quarantine.



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