TORONTO (AP) — Border restrictions on nonessential travel with the United States will be extended until July 21, officials said Friday, as Canada works to get a higher percentage of Canadians fully vaccinated.
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The U.S. State Department moved Canada out of its Level Four travel advisory, which warns Americans: “Do Not Travel” there.
"As it relates to borders – Canada or Mexico – we really rely on the guidance of the CDC and our health and medical experts. So in terms of how they look at the data and information, I would point you to them and whether they would do that in a preliminary fashion or not," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Rep. Elise Stefanik sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas suggesting the move – which, she said, should happen on June 21.
Higgins is hoping that pressure will force Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Biden to agree to open the U.S. Canada border.
"We know that before we get back to normal, cases need to be under control and over 75% of people need to be vaccinated for us to start loosening things in Canada," Trudeau said.
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"As people start to travel again – perhaps this summer if everything goes well – it would make sense for us to align with partners around the world on some sort of proof of vaccination or vaccine certification," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
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Canada averaged 7,896 new daily cases of Covid-19 in the week ending Wednesday. That is down 8.3% over the previous week.
People who are separated from their loved ones by the closed border have been increasingly outspoken, calling on both governments to loosen restrictions.
The pandemic is especially dire in Ontario, where the provincial government reported Tuesday that 2,202 were hospitalized.
The two leaders left residents of border communities wondering when the border travel restrictions will be loosened or lifted.
Nothing has happened so far in the wake of Biden's Jan. 21 executive order calling for diplomatic outreach to Canada to develop a new border plan amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The move comes as new President Joe Biden is expected to revoke its permit, possibly as early as Wednesday.
Reuters reported that the Canadian government is likely to extend the closure at least until after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday in late November.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced two weeks ago that the border would again remain closed through at least July 21 as parts of the United States see another surge in Covid-19 cases.
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A crash between a tractor-trailer and a bus carrying a junior league hockey team left 14 people dead Friday in western Canada's Saskatchewan province, police said.