Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the country could open its borders with the United States to fully vaccinated Americans for non-essential travel by mid-August, the Associated Press reports.
Mr Trudeau made the announcement with leaders of Canada’s provinces on Monday and released a readout of the call.
The prime minister added that opening the border depends on the nation’s vaccination rate and public health conditions.
“Canada would be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travellers from all countries by early September,” the readout said. “He noted the ongoing discussions with the United States on reopening plans, and indicated that we could expect to start allowing fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel.”
Mr Trudeau said approximately 80 per cent of eligible Canadians have received their first dose of the vaccine and 50 percent of eligible Canadians are vaccinated. The prime minister added that case numbers and severe illnesses declined as vaccination rates increase.
That number makes Canada’s vaccination rate much higher than the United States.
The United States and Canada closed their border for non-essential travel in March of 2020. Mr Trudeau announced earlier this month that fully vaccinated Canadians could now enter Canada from the United States without having to quarantine for 14 days.
Canada began allowing fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents to return to Canada without quarantining if they test negative for Covid-19 before leaving and once they return.
The return to normal travel should help the lagging tourism industry. The US Travel Association estimates that each month the border is closed costs $1.5bn. Similarly, Canadian officials say visitors from the United States made up 15 million of the nation’s 22 million visitors in 2019.
Canadian officials say they want 80 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated before loosening restrictions for tourists and business travellers, which it expects by the end of July.
The news also comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raised its Covid-19 warning level for travel to the United Kingdom to “very high.” The advisory warned Americans not to travel to the UK, adding if they “must”, they should be fully vaccinated.
The warning came as Covid-19 cases have exploded in the UK since June, and despite prime minister BorisJohnson’s much vaunted “freedom day” on Monday, which sees England ending many of its Covid restrictions.
Major League Baseball and the Toronto Blue Jays are hoping for an exemption to allow home games starting on 30 July. The Blue Jays played a truncated season in Buffalo, New York in 2020 and then started this year in Dunedin, Florida before moving back to Buffalo. But the Canadian government did not allow the Blue Jays to play in Toronto because of the ongoing risk.
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AP News Digest 3:35 a.m.
Canada will reopen to vaccinated Americans next month, says Trudeau, with other foreigners to follow