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Amid Omicron surge, Canada keeps border open with U.S.

Dec 22 2021, 4:14 PM

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.

The Highgate Springs border crossing with Canada in September. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

The Canadian government is keeping the border open even as it announced new measures to address the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

“Omicron is present,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a Wednesday afternoon press conference. “Closing the borders would not be an efficient measure. Border crossings represent an infinitesimal portion of Covid cases.”

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos touted Canada’s restrictions on incoming travelers as among the strictest in the world. He pointed to requirements that incoming travelers produce proof of a negative Covid-19 molecular test before boarding flights to Canada or at land border crossings, plus requirements that travelers who fly in test negative again at the Canadian airport where they arrive.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, on Wednesday urged Canadians to stick to small gatherings with family and close friends. 

Canadian officials also announced an expansion of financial assistance to workers affected by capacity limitations at their places of work, as well as to people who contract Covid or who have to take care of close family members who become infected.

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