Coronavirus cases need to be under control and more than 75 per cent of Canadians need to be vaccinated before Canada begins easing its land border restrictions with the United States, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told media on Tuesday (May 18).
“We are not yet out of this third wave,” Trudeau told reporters. “We know there are still real concerns around transmission of the virus, but we will continue to work with our partners and hopefully get to a better place when the time is appropriate.”
Trudeau didn't specify if "vaccinated" meant one dose or two full doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Prime Minister implied that the government is still working on a framework for loosening travel restrictions that will keep Canadians safe.
And according to various news reports over the weekend, the Trudeau government is looking into options for reopening the world’s longest international border crossing.
According to anonymous sources Bloomberg spoke with, officials are exploring the idea of a “two-track system” in which quarantine and testing requirements would be relax for vaccinated travellers.
CBC News was able to confirm that a decision from Ottawa isn’t likely in the short term, but that summer may bring positive news as vaccination rates in Canada go up.
As of May 14, 38.87% of the Canadian population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. However, for that same period, just 3.30% of the population had been fully vaccinated with two doses.
These stats are expected to improve in the coming weeks, however – this week, Canada will receive a shipment of 4.5 million total doses from Pfizer and Moderna.
Trudeau noted that Canadians can expect 9 million doses of Pfizer-branded vaccines to be available in June alone.
The ban on non-essential travel at the Canada-U.S. land border, which was introduced in March 2020 to limit the spread of COVID-19, is typically extended every 30 days.
The next deadline date is set for May 21.
While non-essential traffic at the land border is prohibited, the flow of essential goods and services, and essential workers and others who meet certain requirements are allowed to cross.
While the land border is closed, Canadians are still able to fly to the U.S. due to a well-known loophole in the system.
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