Canada has extended its hotel quarantine for all international passengers arriving by air until at least May 21, 2021. The current rules in place require travelers arriving in Canada from abroad to quarantine in a government authorized hotel for at least 3 days, quarantine at home for the remaining time until day 14 and also take 3 Covid-19 PCR tests. The rules are now among the strictest in the world but have not slowed down the Covid-19 variants spreading within the country. Currently, Canada has a higher number of Covid-19 cases per capita then then the United States and Mexico.
Canada continues to lag far behind the United States on vaccinations, and much of the country is now fighting a virulent third wave of the pandemic. Provincial governments have responded by closing businesses, schools and inter-provincial travel.
Canada currently has one of the worse vaccine rollouts in the developed world. The amount of fully vaccinated people in Canada is is more in line with developing countries such as Indonesia, Cambodia and Colombia. According to the New York Times, only 2.5 of the population has been fully vaccinated in Canada. Even countries such as Mexico, Brazil and Russia have fully vaccinated more of their population.
USA Extends Land Border Closure With Canada
US and Canadian officials have come to an agreement to extend the land border closure to all non essential traffic until at least May 21, 2021. The land border restrictions have been in place for 13 months and are renewed month by month.
In what has been a complete reversal, it’s now the USA that will want to keep the land border closed to all non-essential traffic from Canada due to fast spreading variants and a higher per capita Covid rate. The United States will also want to protect its vaccine supply from the millions of Canadians who have not been able to get a shot.
If the land borders were to reopen for non-essential travel, it could cause a large amount of Canadians crossing the border looking to get vaccinated in the United States. The U.S. has one of the best vaccination rates in the world and has enough vaccine supply for everyone in the country right now that wants a shot.
Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that in several states over 30% of vaccines have gone unused due to low demand especially in the Southeast of the country. Texas is recording that 25% of its distributed vaccine has yet to used. In Alabama and Georgia the number of unused vaccines skyrockets to almost 40% of the supply.
Canadians returning home from abroad such as snowbirds who left earlier in the year are also met with strict measures at land border crossings. Currently all travelers will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival and then take another test when arriving at the border. A third test will also be required toward the end of the home 14 day quarantine.
The only measure travelers get to skip when arriving by land is the mandatory hotel quarantine. There are reports of many travelers flying into border towns in the U.S. and taking a taxi across the border to avoid the hotel quarantine.
Canada’s Hotel Quarantine Controversy
Even though Canada’s hotel quarantine has shown that travelers are only responsible for only 1% of transmission in the country, the Canadian government remains focused on the measure.
Data released by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) confirms that only 1% of reported COVID-19 cases resulted from travel outside of Canada, 98.4% from domestic acquisition, and the remaining 0.6% from unknown sources.
During the committee meeting at the House of Commons on February 19, Public Health Agency officials were unable to provide reasoning or logic behind the hotel quarantine mandate in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Both Mexico’s and the United States borders remain fully open for tourism and have a lower number of Covid-19 cases per capita then Canada.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com