The border between the United States and Canada will remain closed for a bit longer, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, but the end of the 14-month closure is finally in sight.
Officials from both governments have started preliminary formal talks on reopening the border, Bloomberg reported last Friday. Still, there are no immediate plans to reopen the 5,525-mile border, the longest in the world, whose closure to non-essential travel since March 2020 has been extended month by month. The current restrictions expire on Friday, May 21, but they will certainly be extended again.
Discussions on the reopening of the border have not yet reached the decision-making levels of the two governments, underlines the Société Radio-Canada.
Still, there is every reason to expect a “slightly better summer,” Trudeau told reporters at a press conference last week, stressing that Canada is on the right track to having a “summer. one dose ”and a“ two dose fall ”. with enough vaccine doses for all eligible Canadians to be fully immunized by September. The vaccine deployment strategy in Canada is based on inoculating a critical mass of citizens with one dose and postponing the second vaccine for up to four months.
The Prime Minister has said the restrictions must remain in place until at least 75% of the Canadian population must have at least their first shot. Currently, only 39% of Canadians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the government’s Immunization Dashboard.
In contrast, 47% of the total U.S. population received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Brown School of Public Health’s Immunization Tracker.
Another challenge is to determine how each country will check the health status of travelers. Currently, Canada has strict testing and quarantine requirements are in place for people flying to Canada. There is a mandatory three-day stay in a designated quarantine hotel until a traveler receives a negative test result.
Trudeau said that Canada is working on a vaccine passport, which would allow the country to verify whether incoming travelers have been vaccinated against Covid-19 or have recently tested negative for Covid-19. This would potentially allow vaccinated travelers to enter Canada without having to be tested or quarantined.
Canadian Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the development of a vaccine passport program could be accelerated because Canada had an existing application. The free ArriveCAN app was launched in April 2020 to help travelers comply with border measures. As of the end of November 2020, air travelers arriving in Canada are required to submit their information electronically through ArriveCAN before boarding their flight. This includes travel and contact information, a quarantine plan, and the Covid-19 symptom self-assessment. Travelers should be prepared to present their ArriveCAN receipt when entering Canada.
The United States currently requires that all air travelers, including those who are fully vaccinated, must present a negative Covid-19 viral test taken within three days of arrival or a recent negative antigen test that proves the individual is ‘recovered from Covid-19 within three months of boarding a plane to the United States
President Joe Biden’s administration has ruled out vaccine passports, leaving companies and institutions to determine their own policies.
A spokesperson for Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told Canadian reporters that talks with US officials take place regularly, but conditions must change “very substantially” before the border can reopen.
“The decision on when and how to reopen the border will be made in Canada, with the best interests of Canadians being our top priority.”Said James Cudmore, director of communications for Blair.
Michael Kergin, Canada’s former ambassador to the United States, told Bloomberg that a “phased reopening” made the most sense.