For fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents returning from abroad could no longer be required to quarantine for 14 days from July, Canada has announced.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Wednesday that negative COVID-19 tests would still be required.
The easing of restrictions is set to begin in early July, although only if cases continue to drop and the vaccination campaigns keep up its momentum.
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Incoming travellers will need to have received a vaccine approved in Canada to qualify for the exemption. Currently approved are AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna.
The planned changes will still include a negative test requirement – both one taken before the return trip and a second on arrival in Canada.
Travellers would wait for the result of the second test at home, and provided it was negative would not be subject to any restrictions.
Statistics show eight per cent of Canadians are currently fully vaccinated, with 63 per cent receiving one dose. However, with vaccine deliveries continuing in the next few weeks, the number of double-dose vaccinated is expected to rise sharply.
The 14-day quarantine requirement for those entering Canada has been in place since March 2020, when COVID-19 restrictions were first imposed.
This first easing of the restrictions will be viewed by Canadians as the first light at the end of the tunnel of the coronavirus crisis.
Currently, citizens and permanent residents who are deemed non-essential travellers must quarantine for 14 days and meet several testing requirements. Those arriving by air must quarantine for three days at a government-approved hotel at their own expense.
More details are expected in the coming days, including how citizens and permanent residents would prove they are vaccinated.
Canada has indicated it will take a phased approach to ease travel restrictions. A ban remains in place on flights from India and Pakistan, to avoid the spread of the more contagious ‘Delta’ variant of COVID-19.
Canada has also come under pressure from the U.S. to begin the reopening of the Canada-U.S. border, with talks between officials on both sides ongoing.