Monday was a tale of two countries regarding travel from the United States; Canada announced it would open its border to Americans, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned all Americans to not travel to the United Kingdom.
The video above includes the announcement of the border opening from Canada Minister of Health Patty Hajdu, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s response to a reporter asking if the U.S. will reciprocate, and U.K. Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance discussing the expected rise in COVID-19 deaths in the U.K. in the coming weeks.
In order to enter Canada starting Aug. 9, Americans will need to have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved in Canada for two weeks prior to entering Canada. The rest of the world can start entering Canada Sept. 7.
“Our approach at the border has always been based on the latest science and evidence,” Health Minister Hajdu said. “This approach will be, the relaxation of measures will be a gradual process taking into account the vaccination rate of Canadians and our own epidemiological situation.”
A date for the U.S. to allow fully vaccinated Canadians to cross into the U.S. by land is not yet known. “We are continuing to review our travel restrictions. Any decisions about reopening travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts,” Press Secretary Psaki said. “We take this incredibly seriously, but we look and are guided by our own medical experts and not in a, we’re not, I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention.”
Any Canadian can currently fly to the U.S.
Across the pond, the CDC bumped its travel health warning for the U.K. to Level 4, the highest level it can go. The CDC said to avoid travel to the U.K. if possible; if you have to travel there, make sure you are fully vaccinated. The CDC said due to the current situation in the U.K., even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.
“We do expect there to be over a thousand people per day being hospitalized with COVID because of the increased infections,” Chief Scientific Officer Vallance said. “But the rate should be lower than they have been previously because of the protective effects of vaccination and the real importance of making sure that everybody gets vaccinated.”
Patty Hajdu, Canada Minister of Health: “On September 7th, we intend to allow entry to fully vaccinated travelers from any country for non-essential travel. Travelers will have to be fully-vaccinated with a Health Canada vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering the country. But ahead of that date on August 9th, a number of important changes will come into effect to allow fully-vaccinated United States citizens and permanent residents who are currently residing in the United States to enter Canada for non-essential purposes. The same requirements will apply. Travelers will have to be fully vaccinated with a Health Canada vaccine at least 14 days before entering the country. Our approach at the border has always been based on the latest science and evidence. This approach will be, the relaxation of measures will be a gradual process taking into account the vaccination rate of Canadians and our own epidemiological situation. All travelers regardless of vaccination status will still need a negative pre-departure test. However starting August 9th, we will shift to a mandatory randomized testing for fully vaccinated travelers. So only those that have been randomly selected will need to complete a Day one test. This shift allows us to focus efforts on unvaccinated travelers while still keeping track of new variants.”
Reporter question: “Canada announced it’s going to reopen its borders for U.S. citizens who are vaccinated on August 9th. Does the United States plan to reciprocate?”
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary: “We are continuing to review our travel restrictions. Any decisions about reopening travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts. We take this incredibly seriously, but we look and are guided by our own medical experts and not in a, we’re not, I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention.”
Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Officer: “When we look at the number of people in hospital with covid, it’s a somewhat different picture. So the first peak, second peak, you can see clearly. And then on the right hand side, you can see that the number of people in hospital is increasing. So it will increase because of the infections, but not as far as it did before. And that is because of the protection of the vaccines. So we do expect this number to increase. We do expect there to be over a thousand people per day being hospitalised with COVID because of the increased infections. But the rate should be lower than they have been previously because of the protective effects of vaccination and the real importance of making sure that everybody gets vaccinated. We are seeing an increase in the number of deaths, but at a much, much lower level. But they again will continue to increase as infections increase and would be expected to reach over 100, possibly a lot over 100. But we’ll see an increase in deaths over the next few weeks as the infections rise, but at a much lower level again because of the protection of vaccination.”