Canada to ease border restrictions for vaccinated citizens

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Canada plans to relax border restrictions and remove forced hotel quarantines for fully vaccinated citizens flying into the country during the ‘first week of July’

  • Canada announced on Wednesday that it plans to relax border restrictions on its citizens in July
  • Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced the phased changes but could not confirm a specific date when the new rules would be implemented
  • The changes mean Canadians flying into the country who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer have to stay in a hotel for a 14-day quarantine
  • Those travelers will still need proof of a negative COVID-19 test before departure and will have to take another test on arrival in Canada
  • The updated rules only apply to citizens or permanent residents. They do not apply to tourists wishing to enter Canada
  • It marks the first change to Canada’s border measures since March 2020

Canada plans to relax border restrictions and remove mandatory hotel quarantines for fully vaccinated citizens flying into the country in “early July.”

Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced the phased changes on Wednesday but did not provide specific dates for when the new policy would come into effect.

When asked for an exact date when the pandemic border measures will be lifted, Hajdu said: “The general ball park is the first week of July.”

The changes mean that Canadians flying into the country who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer have to stay in a hotel for a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Canada plans to relax border restrictions and remove mandatory hotel quarantines for fully vaccinated citizens flying into the country in 'early July'

Canada plans to relax border restrictions and remove mandatory hotel quarantines for fully vaccinated citizens flying into the country in ‘early July’

Those travelers will still need proof of a negative COVID-19 test before departure and will have to take another test on arrival in Canada. Travelers will have to isolate until that test is negative.

The updated rules only apply to citizens or permanent residents. They do not apply to tourists wishing to enter Canada.

The Secretary of Health did not provide a timeline for when fully vaccinated non-Canadian citizens could enter the country without restrictions.

Hajdu said the easing of restrictions will depend on whether the number of cases starts to increase, as well as pending consultations with the various territories and provinces.

“These statistics are very important factors as we move towards implementing the changes at the border that we hope to have made by early July,” she said.

“If we can keep our communities safe and free from COVID, then we won’t have to go back to measures that are so difficult for everyone.”

It marks the first change in Canada’s border measures since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since March 2020, Canada has been subject to non-essential travel and mandatory quarantines.

Canada's air and land borders have allowed only essential travel as of March 2020.  Those returning home are currently quarantined for 14 days after undergoing tests at the airport.  Pictured above is a passenger taking a COVID test at Toronto Airport in January

Canada’s air and land borders have allowed only essential travel as of March 2020. Those returning home are currently quarantined for 14 days after undergoing tests at the airport. Pictured above is a passenger taking a COVID test at Toronto Airport in January

About 63 percent of eligible Canadians have received a first injection, while 8.5 percent have received a second

About 63 percent of eligible Canadians have received a first injection, while 8.5 percent have received a second

The Canadian government is under increasing pressure to lift restrictions as more people are vaccinated.

Canada’s air and land borders have allowed only essential travel as of March 2020.

Those who come home are currently in quarantine for 14 days. If they fly in, they will be quarantined at a designated hotel until they get a negative COVID-19 test.

A government source told Reuters earlier this week there will be as many as seven steps before the borders are fully opened when 75 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

The changes Hajdu announced on Wednesday are the first phase.

Canadian companies, especially airlines and those who depend on tourism, have been frantically lobbying the government to ease restrictions as more and more people are vaccinated.

About 63 percent of eligible Canadians have received a first injection, while 8.5 percent have received a second.

The number of new COVID-19 infections in Canada has fallen significantly since its peak early this year.  On Monday, 1200 new cases were reported

The number of new COVID-19 infections in Canada has fallen significantly since its peak early this year. On Monday, 1200 new cases were reported

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