The U.S. border is unlikely to be fully reopened until 75% of Canadians are fully immunized, Canada’s border services chief said on Sunday in comments that may fuel the growing impatience of both countries over the restrictions. .
The world’s longest undefended border has been closed to most travel since March 2020. Canada on Friday extended restrictions until at least July 21, though it is expected to announce on Monday that some rules will be eased for them. fully immunized citizens.
“We haven’t reached the finish line, and the finish line is when a significant majority of Canadians, about 75%, are fully immunized,” said Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety . CBC national broadcaster told Sunday. Currently, less than a fifth of Canadians have received two injections, according to data compiled by CTV News.
The rules have separated families, blocked tourists and students, and hampered the world’s largest bilateral trade relationship. As trucks and trains continued to carry goods, Canadian tourism and travel-related businesses lost an estimated C $ 20 billion ($ 16 billion) in revenue last year, according to an estimation.
Airlines, tour operators and other companies on both sides of the border have pleaded for a reopening, as the vital summer season is about to begin, and Canada’s slow approach is causing frustration. Blair’s announcement on Friday that Canada would expand border restrictions was greeted with unusual some cru language of Brian Higgins, a Democrat from New York who represents a border district.
Canada has prioritized getting the first doses to as many people as possible before switching to the second doses due to a vaccine shortage. As a result, some 66% of Canadians have received a blow, but only 18% have had two, according to data compiled by CTV News. In contrast, about 45% of Americans received two doses, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracking.
Despite its cautious stance, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government approved a travel exemption for National Hockey League teams earlier this month for the final round of the championship playoffs.
This decision backfired. Last week, the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team tested positive in Las Vegas after traveling when he was only partially vaccinated, according to a NHL statement.
Canada expects delivery of 68 million doses by the end of July, which should be enough to fully immunize the eligible population. When asked if this could allow Canada to reopen the border by the end of August, Blair said that while he did not want to get ahead of the country’s public health agency, he was hopeful.
“Obviously, as these vaccines come in and Canadians continue to walk in these queues and have vaccines in their arms, we’re really optimistic that we can hit that 75% threshold,” he said. he declares.
– With the help of Stephen Wicary