MONCTON — Did Canada jump the gun on reopening its border to U.S. travellers?
Prime Minister Trudeau doesn’t seem to think so.
At a press conference this morning in Moncton where the Prime Minister announced that Canada now has enough COVID-19 vaccines to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians, a milestone that comes two months earlier than originally planned, a reporter asked whether the decision to reopen the border to fully vaccinated Americans on Aug. 9 was made prematurely in light of rising delta numbers in the United States.
“The health data is fairly clear that encouraging or allowing for travel of fully vaccinated individuals is low risk – it’s not zero risk but it is low risk,” said Prime Minister Trudeau. “We are confident that, particularly because cases continue to stay low in Canada, it is the right step to do.”
The federal government announced on July 19 that starting Aug. 9, 2021, Canada will reopen the border to fully vaccinated American travellers, followed by fully vaccinated travellers from any country nearly a month later, on Sept. 7.
Two days later on July 21, the United States announced that it plans to keep its side of the border closed to Canadians until at least Aug. 21, 2021, citing the risk of continued transmission and spread of COVID-19 within the United States and around the world as a determining factor. COVID-19 cases are on the rise in all 50 states, with a daily national average of about 43,700 new cases over the past week. This month, approximately 83% of all new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are delta variant infections.
The border has been closed to all non-essential travel since March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every step of the way we have proceeded in a gradual responsible way and will continue to monitor very, very closely new cases, cases that arrive at the border, and we will make decisions in consequence,” added Prime Minister Trudeau. “Nobody wants to go backwards, which is why continuing to get vaccinated is so important for all Canadians.
“We will take the decisions necessary to keep Canadians safe, first and foremost, as we have throughout this pandemic.”