Health Care

Canada lifts Covid border requirements

Note: This story is more than a week old. Given how quickly the Covid-19 pandemic is evolving, we recommend that you read our latest coverage here.

As of Oct. 1, Canada is lifting vaccination and testing requirements for people crossing into the country. File photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Canada announced Monday that as of Oct. 1, it is lifting all Covid border requirements.

Travelers will no longer have to provide proof of vaccination or test negative before being allowed into the country, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced. All isolation and quarantine requirements for travelers are being lifted as well. 

In a statement, Gov. Phil Scott hailed the move as beneficial to both Canada and the United States.

“Removing barriers to cross border travel allows our border communities to return to normal social and economic activity, which is an important part of the connection between our two countries,” Scott said.

One reason for the move, the Canadian health agency said, is that Canada has passed the peak of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 waves. The agency also cited low hospitalization and death rates, the availability of vaccine boosters, rapid tests and treatments and Canada’s high vaccination rate.

Among Canadians,  82.1% have received the primary series of shots compared to 67.8% in the United States.

Transport Canada also announced that it is lifting the mask requirement on all planes and trains as of Oct. 1, though the Canadian government strongly advises that passengers continue to wear high-quality and well-fitting masks. 

The United States still requires all travelers except U.S. citizens, nationals and permanent residents to provide proof of vaccination before being allowed into the country.

On Monday, Scott called on the federal government to lift that requirement, “removing the final hurdle to finally returning to pre-pandemic border crossing levels.”

Canada’s announcement was the latest in both countries’ gradual lifting of restrictions on travelers.

Since April 1, fully vaccinated travelers have not had to take a Covid test when entering Canada, though they were subject to being pulled aside for random testing at airports and at the border. 

In an interview with “60 Minutes” earlier this month, President Joe Biden declared the pandemic “over” as case numbers continue to decline. The United States is still reporting a seven-day moving average of 53,000 new cases a day, about the same as in early March.

Canada’s health minister, Jean-Yves Duclos, had a more cautious take at a press conference Monday when asked if he agreed with President Biden.

“If anyone has doubts as to whether Covid-19 still exists, I would invite that person to visit a hospital anywhere in Canada,” Duclos said.

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Fred Thys

About Fred

Fred Thys covers business and the economy for VTDigger. He is originally from Bethesda, Maryland, and graduated from Williams College with a degree in political science. He is the recipient of the Radio, Television, and Digital News Association's Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting and for Enterprise Reporting. Fred has worked at The Journal of Commerce, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News, and WBUR, and has written for Le Matin, The Dallas Morning News, and The American Homefront Project.

Email: fthys@vtdigger.org

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