As COVID-19 rises in the United States, is Canada lifting border rules too soon? Experts are mixed – National – .

As COVID-19 rises in the United States, is Canada lifting border rules too soon? Experts are mixed – National – .

The imminent reopening of the US-Canada border to fully vaccinated US travelers next month is met with mixed reactions from health and economic experts in both countries, some of whom are still wary of the spread of COVID-19.

Beginning August 9, U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to cross the Canadian border for non-essential travel without having to self-quarantine upon arrival. Travelers will need to submit proof of vaccination through the ArriveCAN app and provide a negative COVID-19 test that is less than three days old.

On September 7, the same rules will be applied to other countries around the world.

Read more:

Canada to allow fully vaccinated U.S. Pleasure Travelers starting August 9

The change was announced on Monday, about 16 months after the border was first closed to non-essential travel to help limit the spread of COVID-19. It’s a decision that economic experts say is long overdue.

The story continues under the ad

“I am delighted,” said Ambarish Chandra, associate professor of economic analysis and policy at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

“I think the government has finally realized that these measures are excessive for people who are fully vaccinated. It is certainly a different story for those who are not. … But I see no reason why fully vaccinated travelers should not be allowed at this point. “

Health experts are expressing more caution. They say the surge of the highly transmissible Delta variant around the world – which is leading to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States and other countries – means Canada cannot lower its guard, even amid a low number of cases and positive vaccination rates.

Canada to allow fully vaccinated U.S. pleasure travelers on August 9, all countries in September

Canada to allow fully vaccinated U.S. pleasure travelers on August 9, all countries in September

Eric Feigl-Ding, a senior researcher at the Federation of American Scientists who was one of the first epidemiologists to sound the alarm bells about COVID-19 in late 2019 and early 2020, believes Canada should always have additional health restrictions in place even during vaccinated travelers.

The story continues under the ad

“I think a brief quarantine would make a huge difference in terms of what is the best way to contain this virus,” he said.

“From the start, by allowing truckers to cross the border (but denying non-essential travel), Canada has put a band-aid to the problem. And now the bandage is coming off. And while vaccines will help, they won’t solve everything. “

Feigl-Ding also says it “makes no sense” for Canada to announce a reopening of the US border while extending the ban on flights from India due to concerns about the Delta variant.

“It’s everywhere,” he said. “It’s a little too little, too late, especially if you’re going to start allowing other travelers in.” “

As of Monday, just over 50 percent of Canadians, or 57.6 percent of vaccine-eligible people aged 12 and older, are fully immunized with two doses.

At the rate Canada is currently administering second doses, more than 70 percent of all Canadians could be fully immunized by the time restrictions on US travelers are lifted.

Read more:

Communities say possible reopening of Canada-US border “overdue”, but experts are cautious

But Feigl-Ding cautions that the vaccine has always been a strong defense against serious illness or death, not necessarily infection or transmissibility of the virus. And with the Delta variant proving to be slightly more resistant to vaccines while being more transmissible, the reopening of the border is an invitation to more diseases.

The story continues under the ad

“Vaccines are good, but they are not airtight,” he said. “They create a fence, and a good fence, but a fence is always porous – it’s not a good border wall.

“I’m a bigger fan of vaccines combined with other mitigation measures, be it masks, tests or quarantines for travelers. If you layer enough pieces of Swiss cheese on top of it, there will still be holes, but it’s better than just that one layer.

Omar Khan, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto, also wants Canadian border officials to make sure American travelers waited the full 14 days after their second dose to allow maximum immunity to kick in before they go. arrive in Canada.

Still, he’s also happy that travelers will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test upon entry, which he hopes will help reduce transmission and limit the strain on the healthcare system.

“If we see the number of cases increasing, but not an increase in the death rate or (the admission to intensive care), then that’s great because people will get a little sick, but not too much,” he said. -he declares. “Maybe that’s where we find stability.

Click to play video:

Trudeau says decision rests with US on reopening border to Canadian leisure travelers

Trudeau says decision rests with US on reopening border to Canadian leisure travelers

The fear, Khan says, is that if the virus spreads enough in an unvaccinated population, it will create a new variant that turns out to be even more resistant to vaccines.

The story continues under the ad

Last week, COVID-19 cases in the United States increased by 17,000 nationwide over a 14-day period for the first time since late fall, and an increase in deaths historically follows a peak disease.

Last week, US President Joe Biden and the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called the peak an “unvaccinated pandemic,” pointing out that 99% of recent deaths from COVID-19 and more 95% of hospitalizations were among people who were not immune.

About 90 million eligible Americans have yet to receive their first dose of the vaccine. Authorities are trying to overcome the refusal of some – especially conservative rural whites – to get vaccinated, but experts have warned that convincing these groups would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Less than 50 percent of all Americans are fully immunized.

Read more:

Montreal businesses keen to see new border rules come into effect, American tourists to return

“If you have an unvaccinated group large enough to cause milder replication events, creating opportunities for mutations that can cause more serious disease in humans, that’s still a concern,” Khan said. “That’s why it’s always a global challenge. “

If hospitalizations and deaths start to increase with cases in the United States and other countries, Khan says it would be prudent for Ottawa to back down and ban non-essential travel again.

The story continues under the ad

He points to the United Kingdom, which lifted all its restrictions on Monday despite the announcement of an increase in cases which has now reached 50,000 new infections per day. Hospitalizations, which had been steadily declining since January, are now also on the rise.

Feigl-Ding hopes the UK and other countries will heed the warning from the Netherlands, which saw a sufficiently large spike in cases after its full reopening at the end of June that it had to reinstate some restrictions, in especially in nightclubs.

The UK and the Netherlands, he adds, are about two-thirds vaccinated.

“It proves that one wrong move, one move too early, and anything can increase very quickly,” Feigl-Ding said. “We’re not safe yet. “

Chanda is more confident that at the rate Canada is vaccinating people, the country will be ready to welcome vaccinated travelers from other countries in September.

The story continues under the ad

He points out that the government’s COVID-19 advisory group had criticized numerous mitigation measures at the border and in May advised to stop the federal hotel quarantine program due to its cost and inconsistencies.

“From a purely scientific or data-driven perspective, there has never been a reason to delay other nationalities after allowing Canadians to enter without quarantine, once they are fully vaccinated,” he said, referring to rule changes in early July.

“I can see how some people can differ on this, but I think we’re in a good position and will get to an even better place soon. “

See the link »

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here