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article imageTrudeau: Canada — U.S. border to remain 'closed for now'

By Karen Graham     Feb 28, 2021 in Travel
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday that it is too early to make a decision on reopening his country's border with the U.S.
“The approach that [President Joe Biden] is taking on COVID right now much more aligns with where Canada has been for quite a while, grounded in science, grounded in the protection of people as the best way to protect the economy and understanding that being there to support people is absolutely essential so that we can get through this as quickly as possible,” Trudeau told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
When asked by NBC's Chuck Todd how soon border restrictions could be listed, Trudeau responded, “I think there's an awful lot of different metrics we need to look at," reports The Hill.
“Obviously, case counts, presence of variants, hospitalizations — all these things factor into the expert analysis. Our public health experts telling us what the right measures are and how concerned we have to be about variants,” he added. “Obviously, as vaccinations increase, we’re all hoping for good news and to get through this ... but for now, we all need to keep safe, and that means keeping them in place.”
Trudeau added that he expects every Canadian to be vaccinated by the end of this summer, despite the delays in distribution, adding, "We all want this pandemic to be over yesterday and to vaccinate everyone as quickly as possible."
On February 19, the U.S. extended its restrictions on non-essential travel at the U.s. border with Canada and Mexico until March 21, 2021, according to Reuters. The White House has been holding meetings about potentially tightening requirements for crossing at U.S. land borders in North America, officials said.
All this was in response to an executive order signed by Biden last month, instructing U.S. officials to “immediately commence diplomatic outreach to the governments of Canada and Mexico regarding public health protocols for land ports of entry.”
Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair confirmed the extension of restrictions through March 21. “We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe from #COVID19,” Blair wrote on Twitter.
Additionally, on January 26, the U.S. government began requiring nearly all international air travelers to get negative COVID-19 test results within three days of travel but has no similar requirements for land border crossings.
Just a couple of weeks later, on February 15, new rules went into effect for travelers crossing from the U.S. into Canada at all 117 land border crossing points. Non-essential travelers now have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken in the last 72 hours.
Lawmakers from a number of states have sent letters to the president, asking that he work with Canada to develop a plan to ease border restrictions now and reopen the border as soon as possible, according to the Buffalo News.
More about land border restrictions, US Canasa, OS Mexico, March 21, coronavirus
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