Many British Canadians are frustrated after being snubbed by a new plan to ease quarantine restrictions for entry into England and Scotland.
UK countries announced on Wednesday that fully vaccinated travelers in the US or Europe will not have to self-quarantine upon arrival from Monday.
Shaun Campbell said he came to Canada as a student from the UK in February 2020 and has not been able to visit family since – even when his uncle died after being infected with COVID-19 last year.
He wrote to government officials, including UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, to express his “extreme disappointment” at the decision to exclude travelers from Canada from the new changes.
“You can imagine how angry and upset I am,” he wrote.
“(Since March 2020) I had to settle for video calls to see my family. I had to deal with my mother (an NHS employee working with elderly patients with COVID) catching COVID and infecting the whole household, all via video calls. “
The English and Scottish governments have not explained why Canada was not included in the new quarantine exceptions.
Campbell said the new changes were “unfair” to him and others who reside in Canada and wish to visit family in the UK.
In recent weeks, Canada has reported a much lower number of new COVID-19 cases than the United States, the United Kingdom and many European countries.
Canada also has a higher vaccination rate than the European Union and has overtaken the United States on the percentage of the population who received two doses.
England and Scotland exclude Canadian travelers from new exception to quarantine measures
Tom Walsh, spokesperson for the UK High Commission in Ottawa, said the UK government was taking a “phased approach” to easing travel restrictions, but did not directly answer the question as to why Canada was not included in the new changes.
“The (UK) government is looking to make similar announcements on quarantine restrictions when the time is right,” Walsh said in a statement Thursday.
Paul Meade, editor of the British Canadian Newspaper, which serves the British community in Canada, said the decision appeared to be based on political and economic reasons, not science.
“Britain can’t go another August without tourists from Europe and (the United States),” he wrote in an email.
“There has been so much pressure from the airlines and the UK tourism industry in general. The government had to act, but it is not really a question of science. It’s about which countries can give the biggest and fastest boost to a struggling tourism industry. “
He said there were fewer Canadian tourists going to the UK compared to the US and Europe if travel restrictions were lifted.
“This is why Canada has been left out, it does not offer a large number of tourists and London is in desperate need of tourists,” he said.
Meade said his readers were shocked by the government’s decision.
“Many have relatives in the UK who have not been able to visit for almost two years,” he said.
” It is not fair. It is not backed by science. It’s just a question of money for tourism.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the Canadian government respects the sovereignty of the United Kingdom and its right to make decisions on travel restrictions.
Freeland did not say whether the British government had provided an explanation as to why Canadian travelers were not included in the new quarantine exemptions and whether Ottawa was continuing diplomatic efforts to change that.
Non-essential travelers from the UK are currently not permitted to enter Canada. On September 7, those who are fully vaccinated will be allowed entry.
Global Affairs Canada and the Governor General did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
British Canadians form a large part of the population of Canada. In the 2016 census, 32.5% of the Canadian population reported having British Isles ancestry with 6.3 million people of English descent, 4.8 million of Scottish descent and 4.6 million of Irish descent. .
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