More border reopening plans to be unveiled in coming weeks: Trudeau

Fully vaccinated Canadians can return to the country without quarantine effective July 5

Canadians should expect more announcements about loosening border restrictions to be made in the coming weeks, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“I understand the impatience people have to get travelling again,” he said Tuesday while speaking outside his home in Ottawa.

The prime minister would not commit to a date about when the border would be fully reopened as the country deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, he emphasized more than once that further details about easing international travel would be made available in the coming weeks rather than the coming months.

“We could have in the next number of weeks both more information and changes with respect to our posture at the border,” Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said at a briefing later in the day when asked to clarify whether border restrictions would be loosened further in the coming weeks or if Ottawa was only preparing to offer more details within that timeframe.

On Monday, the federal government revealed travellers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer need to quarantine upon arriving in Canada starting July 5.

The new measures only apply to those eligible to enter Canada, meaning fully vaccinated tourists are not yet permitted to visit the country.

“The issue is being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 protects you from the worst impacts. It does not necessarily protect you from transmitting COVID-19 even though you’re fully vaccinated,” Trudeau said.

“That’s why our decision to reopen step by step and gradually is the right and responsible one.”

Fully vaccinated Canadians and foreign nationals eligible to travel into the country will still need to take a pre-departure test for COVID-19 as well as a test upon arrival.

Travellers must be asymptomatic upon arrival, show proof of vaccination upon arrival and have all their travel information submitted within the ArriveCAN app if they wish to skip quarantine.

Trudeau said fully reopening the border will depend on getting more Canadians fully vaccinated.

About 21% of the country has received two doses, while 75% have received one dose.

“Nobody wants to see restrictions brought in, in the summer because we were a little too rushed,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister said the government will need to monitor cases and outbreaks within the country as well as the state of global cases before deciding if borders are ready to be fully reopened.

“We were not ready to make that call yesterday,” Trudeau said.

torton@biv.com

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