Beginning July 5, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents will be exempt from current post-travel quarantine restrictions upon their return to Canada as long as they are negative for COVID-19, the federal government said on Monday.
This first step in easing travel restrictions does not apply to fully vaccinated foreigners, with a few exceptions, including international students attending school in Canada.
The changes mean eligible travelers will be exempt from existing quarantine rules, including a mandatory hotel stay for those arriving by air and testing on the eighth day after their return.
Trudeau defends the extension of the Canada-U.S. Border closure until July 21, 2021
Earlier this month, the Liberal government said fully vaccinated travelers would still be required to self-isolate at home until a COVID-19 test results on arrival are negative. This week, federal health officials said they had dropped the requirement.
But this first phase of relaxed travel restrictions won’t be much help for families with children under 12 who are not currently eligible for vaccines.
Children under 18 who are not fully vaccinated, but traveling with fully vaccinated parents, will be allowed to skip the quarantine hotel but will still need to be quarantined at home for 14 days. Officials said parents will be able to care for their children and leave their homes. They said the rules were created to mitigate the risk of a child spreading COVID-19 in the community.
“It will undoubtedly be a challenge for families who wish to travel,” Health Minister Patty Hajdu said on Monday.
Canadians returning from travel are currently required to self-quarantine for 14 days and those arriving by air must stay in designated hotels until the results of an on-arrival COVID-19 test are received.
Under the new system, which will take effect at 11:59 p.m. ET on July 5, fully vaccinated Canadians must prepare for their return to Canada by downloading documents and information from the ArriveCAN software application or from the website. government.
The information required will include a 14-day travel history, the results of a COVID-19 molecular test performed within 72 hours of their arrival in Canada, as well as documents demonstrating that they have been fully vaccinated.
The only vaccines that will be considered acceptable for determining full vaccination status are those manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca / COVISHIELD and Johnson & Johnson. The government says the list of accepted vaccines could grow in the future.
Nothing the government has announced changes post-travel restrictions for partially vaccinated or unvaccinated Canadians. If arriving by plane, they will still have to go through a mandatory quarantine at the hotel upon their return, and then be subject to the full 14-day quarantine rules already in place.
As of Monday, more than 65% of Canadians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 19% are fully immunized, according to covid19tracker.ca.
Ottawa also announced new disclosure rules for all inbound travelers. Everyone will now be required to disclose information about the COVID-19 vaccination, including whether they have received a COVID-19 vaccine, the brand name or any other information that identifies the vaccine that was given, the dates on which vaccine has been administered and doses received.
The Canadian government said it was following scientific and expert advice on when and how to ease travel restrictions. However, the new rules take a more conservative approach than what was recommended by the government’s own expert advisory group.
Officials speaking at a technical briefing with reporters ahead of the announcement said decisions were made based on parameters such as vaccination and hospitalization rates. However, they could not provide the specific data they were relying on and did not disclose the benchmarks rates must meet to relax the measures.
The Trudeau government has been criticized by critics who say Ottawa is moving too slowly to ease travel restrictions. The government announced on Friday that the Canada-U.S. Border will remain closed to non-essential travel until July 21 – a renewal of a monthly agreement with the United States that has been extended several times since the outbreak of the pandemic. in early 2020.
Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada was still not sufficiently protected by vaccination to ease cross-border travel.
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