Canada could start allowing fully vaccinated travellers from all countries by early September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said.
The country could also start allowing fully vaccinated Americans into the country as of mid-August for non-essential travel.
Mr Trudeau spoke with leaders of Canada’s provinces on Thursday and his office released a readout of the call. He noted that if Canada’s current positive path of vaccination rate and public health conditions continued, the border could reopen.
“Canada would be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travellers from all countries by early September,” the readout said.
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“He (Mr Trudeau) noted the ongoing discussions with the United States on reopening plans, and indicated that we could expect to start allowing fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel.”
Mr Trudeau noted Canada continued to lead G20 countries in vaccination rates, with approximately 80% of eligible Canadians vaccinated with their first dose and more than 50% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated. He said case numbers and severe illness continued to decline across the country as vaccination rates continued to increase.
In the early days of the pandemic, the US and Canadian governments closed the more than 5,500-mile border to non-essential traffic.
With increasing vaccination rates and dropping infection rates, some were annoyed the two governments had not yet laid out detailed plans to fully reopen the border.
Canada began easing its restrictions earlier this month, allowing fully vaccinated Canadians or permanent legal residents to return to the country without quarantining.
But among the requirements are a negative test for the virus before returning, and another once they get back.
Pressure has been mounting on Canada to continue to ease the restrictions at the border, which have been in effect since March last year.
Commercial traffic has flowed normally between the two countries since the start of the pandemic.
Canadians are able to fly into the US with a negative Covid-19 test.
The US Travel Association estimates that each month the border is closed costs 1.5 billion dollars (£1.08 billion). Canada had some 22 million foreign visitors in 2019 — about 15 million of them from the US.