Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has kept its borders closed to most non-essential travels and enforced a 14-day quarantine requirements for travelers allowed to enter.
The federal government upped the ante in late February, mandating that travelers take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and that travelers spend part of their quarantine at a designated hotel until they receive test results.
However, there’s is about to be a U-turn, as Canadians and exempt travelers who are fully vaccinated may soon have an amended quarantine rules when arriving from abroad.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu told reporters that travelers who are already exempted from travel restrictions, will not have to quarantine for the full fourteen days if they have received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine within fourteen days of arrival.
The health minister did not give a certain date for when these measures would go into effect, but suggested “early July” as long as case counts continue to drop.
Hajdu said the general expected timeframe is the first week of July, but the Ottawa is still consulting with the provincial governments, as well as the public safety and immigration departments.
The health minister also said only vaccines that have been approved in Canada will be accepted.
Currently, Canada has approved about four vaccines: Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, Johnson and Johnson, and Moderna.
The health minister added that Health Canada will be assessing other vaccines in the nearest future.
Hajdu also said that Canada will proceed with a phased approach to adjusting border measures, corroborating with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s previous statements.
Travelers will still have to provide a negative PCR COVID test upon arrival to the border, as well as a viable quarantine plan for while they wait for the result.
They could be released in as early as one day provided the test result is negative.
Travel restrictions and the mandatory quarantine requirements have been in place since Canada went into a total lockdown in March 2020.
The three-day hotel stay quarantine has been a rule since this year February.
Last month, shortly after travel restrictions were rolled over to June 21, Canada’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory board called for the end of the hotel quarantine rules for all travelers.
They said it is not clear if the hotel quarantine even works.
Government officials have been saying that border restrictions could ease towards the end of June or July.
The Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had previously said Canada was in no rush to reopening the border, in line with recent public opinion studies.
This past week, however, Justin Trudeau has been saying that government is looking into a phased-in approach to allowing cross-border travel.
The federal government has not released an official date for the reopening of the border.