Monday, July 15, 2024

Reopening the border between Canada and the United States | Trudeau’s government remains on the right track despite mounting US issues

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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(Ottawa) The Trudeau government is continuing the path and still intends to reopen borders to fully vaccinate American travelers as scheduled as of August 9, despite the recent surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States due to the delta variable.

Joel Dennis Belavance

Joel Dennis Belavance

Government sources said Journalism That the decision to allow American tourists to visit Canada was not in question, at least for now, even if there has been a spike in cases south of the border in recent days.

In Washington, a White House official has raised the possibility that the United States will once again welcome fully vaccinated foreign travelers, but without setting a specific timeline, AFP reported Wednesday night.

According to the unnamed official, the Biden administration is developing a “phased approach that means, with limited exceptions, that all foreign nationals coming to the United States – from all countries – must be fully immunized.”

The official said the working groups responsible for the issue are “working to develop a policy to be ready, when the time comes, to move forward toward this new system.”

So caution remains in place, but it is nonetheless a change of tone on the part of the United States, which still on July 26 does not want to hear about tests or vaccines to reopen its borders.

In the United States, the daily average reached 66,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the past week, a 64% increase from the previous week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These cases are overwhelmingly from Americans who refuse to be vaccinated, forcing the Biden administration to redouble its efforts to persuade those who refuse to be vaccinated to get their doses.

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Last month, Trudeau’s government announced its intention to reopen the Canada-US border to non-essential travel after a nearly 16-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision has been praised by the business world, which for several weeks has been calling for flexibility in the case of fully vaccinated individuals. But the United States decided to keep the restrictions in place for another month, at least until August 21, so that Canadian travelers could still not reach the United States by land.

It is clear that we are watching developments in the United States closely. “But we are continuing the path when it comes to reopening the borders,” said a government source, who asked not to be identified in order to speak more freely on the issue.

We have given ourselves the tools to tighten border measures if necessary. This source added that we did this in the past when we stopped flights from Great Britain for example when the situation required it and we also did so in the case of Pakistan, stressing that the Canadian authorities will not hesitate to do so. Do this at the Canada-US border if public health is required.

From next week

Federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino also confirmed on his Twitter account on Tuesday the changes, which will take effect early next week.

“From August 9, fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents will be able to enter Canada for non-essential travel. On September 7, all fully vaccinated travelers will be able to enter Canada for non-essential travel!” he wrote in his tweet.

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All travelers will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test result and proof of vaccination prior to arrival through the app Access.

Also starting August 9, airports in Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Edmonton will be added to the list of Canadian cities where international flights will be allowed to land, along with airports in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

“Calculated risk”

Maintaining the reopening of borders to American travelers is a “calculated risk,” according to University of Montreal School of Public Health Professor Roxanne Borges da Silva.

“Americans will be able to come as long as they are doubly vaccinated and have a negative test within 24 hours or 48 hours before the flight. In this context, she emphasized that the risks are generally calculated and are somewhat minimal.

The risk and threshold are calculated because not only public health is taken into account in this type of policy decision. We also take into account all social and economic aspects.

Roxanne Borges da Silva is a professor at the University of Montreal’s School of Public Health

Having said that, mI Borges da Silva argued that we must remain vigilant, especially since a recent study in the United States shows that vaccinated people can spread the virus as well as unvaccinated people. “It is only one study. There is not yet enough consensus and data on this. Another study that has just come out of England says the opposite. So, there is not enough data yet on the delta variable that would allow us to make a decision. But the government Canadian is ready to take this risk as long as the risk is calculated.”

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In her report on Wednesday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr.Re Theresa Tam noted that COVID-19 cases across the country are on the rise, especially among unvaccinated people, just as several counties have lifted restrictions. She said the national average for the past seven days (July 28 to August 3) shows that 887 new cases were reported each day, which is a 59% increase from the previous week.

“In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, particularly the highly contagious delta variant, we must maintain vigilant approaches to easing public health measures, remain vigilant and alert to signs of re-emergence, and encourage two-dose vaccine coverage,” she said.

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