Canada will not fully open the border with the United States until vaccinations almost quadrupl


Top line

As Canada prepares to ease pandemic travel restrictions for fully vaccinated Canadians this week, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said on Sunday the government is aiming to achieve an immunization rate of 75 % before fully reopening the Canada-U.S. border for non-essential travel.

Highlights

The “finish line,” which will signal the end of travel restrictions linked to the pandemic, will be reached when 75% of Canadians are fully immunized against the coronavirus, Blair told the CBC on Sunday.

The goal means Canada must nearly quadruple its vaccination rate before the border with the United States, the world’s longest demilitarized land border, is fully reopened to pre-pandemic standards.

Unlike its neighbor to the south, Canada has made a point of ensuring that as many people as possible receive their first dose of the vaccine – while 75% of Canadians aged 12 and over have received a dose, only 20% are fully vaccinated, compared to 45% of Americans who received both doses.

The ban on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States has cost both countries billions of dollars, and authorities are under pressure on both sides of the border to speed up the reopening process.

Officials say the planned delivery of more than 68 million doses of vaccine over the next six weeks could open up vaccination points for Canadians waiting for their first or second dose and could be enough for all eligible Canadians to do so. vaccinate completely.

Crucial quote

“As these vaccines arrive and Canadians continue to walk in these lineups and get vaccines in their arms, we’re really optimistic that we can hit that 75% threshold,” Blair said on Sunday.

What to watch out for

On Monday, Canada will announce new, more flexible guidelines for quarantine periods for fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents, as well as other travel restrictions, Blair said.

Key context

The Canadian and U.S. governments agreed to extend pandemic border restrictions on non-essential travel until at least July 21 on Friday, marking a full 15 months since tourism between the two neighboring countries was banned. The slow reopening process has been a source of frustration on both sides. Congressman Brian Higgins (D-NY), whose congressional district contains Niagara Falls, the border’s biggest tourist draw, called for the extension to be closed “bullshitIn a statement Friday. “The lack of transparency surrounding these negotiations is a is doing our constituents a disservice on both sides of the border while waiting to see their loved ones, visit their property and reconnect with business, ”Higgins said. Destination Canada, a government group serving Canadian tourism, estimated in March that adjacent tourism businesses had lost US $ 16 billion since the border was closed. Canada and the United States closed the border to non-essential travel in March 2020, at the start of the alarm over the coronavirus pandemic.



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