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Canada welcoming vaccinated American citizens back across border as U.S. demurs – CTV News

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WASHINGTON —
The United States will remain on the sidelines for now as Canada gamely welcomes back fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents.

As of midnight Sunday night, non-essential U.S. travellers who have had a full course of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine will again be allowed on Canadian soil.

To be eligible, travellers must live in the U.S., have allowed at least 14 days to pass since their last dose and show proof of a negative molecular test for COVID-19 that’s no more than 72 hours old.

They are also required to use the ArriveCAN app or online web portal to upload their vaccination details.

Denis Vinette, vice-president of the travellers branch of the Canada Border Services Agency, says the agency learned a lot when fully vaccinated Canadian citizens were allowed to return last month.

Vinette says about half had to be turned away during the first week because they hadn’t received one of the four vaccines approved by Health Canada, or had not waited the full 14 days after their last shot.

“We found that many travellers — while they believed they met the full vaccination requirements — in fact did not, for one of two reasons,” Vinette said in an interview.

“One, it had not been a full 14 days since they’d received their second vaccination shot, and secondly, there were a lot of individuals who received a non-Health Canada vaccine who believed they would have been exempt from the quarantine requirements.”

Canada has approved four vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot, also known as Covishield, and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson option.

“We had a lot of individuals who didn’t have a full understanding of what applies and what does not apply,” Vinette said. “I expect the same here. I think that from a vaccination perspective, the vaccines being administered in the U.S. are approved in Canada, so I would expect that might be a lesser issue.”

The U.S., for its part, has been mum on when it might begin to ease its own restrictions on non-essential Canadian travellers at land crossings. Air and sea travellers are exempt, though passengers by rail, ferry and pleasure boat are not.

The White House did say last week that it is exploring whether to require discretionary visitors to be fully vaccinated when the time comes to ease restrictions, although it remains unclear whether that discussion specifically includes Canadian travellers.

The U.S. has maintained stringent travel limits on a number of foreign countries, including China, India, Ireland, Iran, South Africa, Brazil and the 26 European countries without border controls, known as the Schengen group.

The borders with Canada and Mexico, however, are widely seen as falling into a different category, in part because of the close trade ties between the three countries as well as the fact that visitors can enter without the help of a private-sector company like an airline or cruise ship operator.

Observers also detect a measure of unease in the White House at the idea of allowing travel to resume from Canada without doing so at the southern border, where an ever-present flow of would-be refugees continues to pose a political challenge for President Joe Biden.

While a short-lived labour dispute with Canadian border agents was resolved promptly last week, travellers looking to enter the country after Sunday would still be wise to pack some patience, given the likelihood that a lot of people will be getting turned away.

Some people “will not have perhaps the totality of information they require to be able to present themselves to enter the country for a discretionary purpose,” Vinette said.

“They’ll be denied entry to the country; they’ll simply be sent back to the U.S., then they can choose to comply with all requirements and then seek re-entry after that case.”

Travellers arriving by air can also expect delays, given that it already takes a lot of time.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, one of four in Canada that has been allowed to accept flights from outside the country, has been warning people that the international arrivals process could take more than three hours.

Canadians are growing more comfortable with air travel, which means more people in the airport, all of them dealing with augmented security and health checks thanks to COVID restrictions, said Pearson spokeswoman Beverly MacDonald.

“There are a variety of factors that impact wait times upon arrival, including additional health screening due to government travel requirements, vaccination status, immigration processing, multiple flights arriving at the same time and more,” MacDonald said in a statement.

Pearson saw nearly double the amount of passengers in the second quarter than during the same months in 2020 — though at an average of 11,500 a day it’s still significantly down from that quarter in 2019, when an average of 140,000 passengers flowed through the airport.

In June, the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport saw about 10 per cent of its 2019 volumes, which rose to 20 per cent in July, and they expect to see around 30 per cent in August.

“Even if we are used to attending to a far larger number of passengers in our facilities, there are longer wait times to be expected especially at the international arrivals level, depending on the time of the day,” said spokeswoman Anne-Sophie Hamel.

The federal government is currently planning to allow vaccinated visitors from outside the U.S. to return to Canada for non-essential reasons as of Sept. 7.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 8, 2021.

— With files from Allison Jones and Elena De Luigi in Toronto

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Canada, China trade barbs at UN General Assembly over 2 Michaels, Meng Wanzhou – Global News

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Canada and China were involved in a war of words at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Monday over the detentions of their citizens who were released over the weekend in an apparent prisoner swap.

Speaking on the closing day of the 76th session of the UNGA in New York, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau thanked international allies for their support in the case of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who returned to Canada after nearly three years in Chinese detention.

Read more:
China continues to deny retaliatory arrests, freed 2 Michaels for health reasons

The announcement of their release by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday night came hours after a deferred prosecution agreement in the case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who was accused of committing fraud in order to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran.

On Friday, a B.C. Supreme Court judge withdrew the U.S. extradition charge against her, allowing her to return home to China.

Garneau told the UNGA that Canada applied both Canadian and international law in response to the U.S. request for extradition of Meng, and that the “two Michaels,” as they are known, paid a “heavy price” for Canada’s commitment to the rule of law.

“We continue to oppose the way these two citizens were treated,” Garneau said, adding that Canada “will never forget this experience.”


Click to play video: 'Canada and China’s relationship status after Meng, 2 Michaels return home: it’s complicated'



2:28
Canada and China’s relationship status after Meng, 2 Michaels return home: it’s complicated


Canada and China’s relationship status after Meng, 2 Michaels return home: it’s complicated

China has long maintained that there is no connection between Meng’s case and that of Spavor and Kovrig, who were arrested over espionage charges just days after the Huawei executive’s apprehension.

Using the right to reply at the UNGA, a representative for China’s UN mission, speaking shortly after Garneau’s address, said Meng’s case is “completely different” to the Canadian men.

He accused the U.S. and Canada of arbitrarily detaining Meng, categorizing it as a “complete political incident and frame-up.”

“We hope that Canada can face up to the facts squarely, correct their mistakes and draw lessons from what happened so that they could not make further mistakes,” the Chinese diplomat added.

Read more:
‘Free at last’: Canadian Michael Kovrig, wife speak about emotional return from China

Exercising its own right to reply, a representative for Canada’s UN mission said the “two Michaels” did not benefit from a similar degree of transparency, respect, due process or judicial independence as Meng did.

Meng was kept under house arrest in one of her Vancouver mansions, while the two Canadians faced harsh conditions in Chinese detention — where they had limited access to the outside world and their families.

“We continue to oppose the way these Canadian citizens were treated and we will continue to speak out against arbitrary detention in state-to-state relations,” the Canadian diplomat added.

The Chinese representative fired back a final time, saying China could not accept what the Canadian representative said.

“Facts cannot be denied,” he said.


Click to play video: 'Analysing Canada-China relations after return of the two Michaels'



4:45
Analysing Canada-China relations after return of the two Michaels


Analysing Canada-China relations after return of the two Michaels

Kovrig and Spavor’s safe return to Canada on Saturday, where they were greeted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Calgary, marked an end to a tense international stand-off that has strained ties between Ottawa and Beijing.

In another twist earlier on Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry said that Spavor and Kovrig were released on bail for health reasons.

China released the two Canadians on bail after a “diagnosis by professional medical institutions, and with the guarantee of the Canadian ambassador to China,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a daily briefing.

Read more:
The 2 Michaels are home. But what about the 115 Canadians still detained in China?

In an interview with the Global News on Sunday, Garneau said the federal government’s “eyes are wide open” when it comes to China.

“It’s an eyes-wide-open policy with respect to (the Chinese government),” Garneau told Mercedes Stephenson during an episode of Global News’ The West Block. He added that the arbitrary detention of the “two Michaels” had ground Canada’s relationship with China to a halt.

However, the country’s relationship with China is continually evolving, said Garneau, and the two will still “co-exist.”

“We will compete. We will cooperate in areas where we need to cooperate, such as climate change, and we will challenge China, whether it’s on human rights or whether it’s on arbitrary detention, when appropriate,” he said.

— with files from Global News’ Emerald Bensadoun, The Canadian Press and Associated Press


Click to play video: 'The West Block: September 26'



23:23
The West Block: September 26


The West Block: September 26

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Tuesday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

Confirmed deaths from the coronavirus in Russia hit another record at 852 on Tuesday, up from a previous record of 828 on Friday, Russia’s state coronavirus task force reported.

Daily coronavirus infections in Russia have fallen from more than 20,000 in late August to about 18,000 in mid-September. However, the numbers have started creeping up again. Since last Thursday, the state coronavirus task force has been reporting more than 21,000 new cases a day. On Tuesday, 21,559 new infections were registered.

Despite the increase, there are few restrictions in place in Russia, which had one, six-week lockdown last spring. Vaccination rates have remained low, too, with only 32 per cent of the country’s 146 million population having received at least one shot of a vaccine and only 28 per cent fully vaccinated.

Russian authorities have reported a total of about 7.4 million confirmed infections and more than 205,000 confirmed deaths. However, reports by the government’s statistical service Rosstat indicates the tally of coronavirus-linked deaths retroactively reveal much higher mortality numbers.

-From The Associated Press, last updated at 8:25 a.m. ET


What’s happening in Canada

WATCH | Patient describes ICU stay as Alberta doctors call for ‘fire break’ lockdown:

Patient describes ICU stay as Alberta doctors call for ‘fire break’ lockdown

15 hours ago

An Alberta man taken to the ICU because of COVID-19 describes how he was asked whether he wanted to live or die and encourages people to get vaccinated, while doctors across the province call for a ‘fire break’ lockdown to stop the case surge. 2:22

The COVID-19 case count continues to rise in New Brunswick, where health officials reported 86 new cases Monday — another record daily high since the pandemic began.

Premier Blaine Higgs reimposed a state of emergency on Friday after a senior health official admitted the province made a mistake by lifting all health protection measures — including mask wearing — on July 30.

With an active caseload of 650 as of Monday, the province was treating 41 patients in hospital — 16 of them in intensive care. Health officials confirmed that 78 per cent of the new cases were among those not fully vaccinated.

“The surge in COVID-19 cases is causing delays at assessment centres throughout the province and leading to longer-than-anticipated wait times for appointments and test results,” the province said in a statement Monday.

-From The Canadian Press, last updated at 8:30 a.m. ET


What’s happening around the world

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine on a train outside Gqeberha, South Africa, earlier this month. Health officials sent a train carrying COVID-19 vaccines into one of its poorest provinces to get doses to areas where health-care facilities are stretched. (Jerome Delay/The Associated Press)

As of early Tuesday morning, more than 232.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.7 million.

In the Americas, Chilean authorities announced the end of a state of emergency in force since the start of the pandemic, a sign of life returning to normal following a sharp decrease in cases in the country.

New York hospitals began firing or suspending health-care workers for defying a state order to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and resulting staff shortages prompted some hospitals to postpone elective surgeries or curtail services.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Pakistan’s planning minister says the government will begin a drive to vaccinate children ages 12 and above to protect them from the coronavirus.

WATCH | India’s 2nd COVID-19 wave looms over feared 3rd wave: 

India’s 2nd COVID-19 wave looms over feared 3rd wave

14 hours ago

Much of India is still managing the impact of its deadly second wave of COVID-19, including exhausted health-care workers, long-haul patients and those with hefty medical bills, but fears of what could happen during an expected third wave this fall loom large. 3:41

Japan’s government announced Tuesday that the coronavirus state of emergency will end this week to help rejuvenate the economy as infections slow.

In the Middle East, Jordan will fully reopen its main border crossing with Syria from Wednesday, government and industry officials said, as a high-level Syrian team arrived in Amman to discuss how to ease the flow of goods hit by the pandemic and a decade of conflict.

In Africa, health officials in South Africa on Monday reported 578 new cases of COVID-19 and 164 additional deaths, bringing the number of reported deaths in the country to 87,216.

A girl receives a dose of the Sinovac vaccine against COVID-19 at a public school in Concon, Chile, on Monday. (Rodrigo Garrido/Reuters)

Meanwhile, the head of the World Trade Organization said on Tuesday that the low COVID-19 vaccination rate of around four per cent in Africa was “devastating,” saying that trade should help address vaccine inequity.

WTO director general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s remarks came at the opening session of a Geneva-based trade event alongside South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In Europe, Portugal is winding down its military-led vaccine task force after almost reaching its target of fully inoculating 85 per cent of the population against COVID-19.

-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 8:15 a.m. ET

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Canada foreign minister says eyes wide open when it comes to normalizing China ties

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Canada‘s “eyes are wide open” when it comes to normalizing its relationship with China, Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said on Sunday, two days after the release of a Huawei executive following almost three years of house arrest in Vancouver.

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, flew back to China on Friday after reaching an agreement with U.S. prosecutors to end a bank fraud case against her. That resulted in the scrapping of her extradition battle in a Canadian court.

Soon after Meng flew to China, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – two Canadians detained by Chinese authorities just days after Meng’s arrest in Vancouver in December 2018 on a U.S. warrant – were released by Beijing.

Garneau told CBC News the government is now following a fourfold approach to China: “coexist,” “compete,” “cooperate” and “challenge.”

He said Canada would compete with China on issues like trade and cooperate on climate change, while challenging it on its treatment of Uighurs, Tibetans and Hong Kong as Ottawa has done in the past.

“Let me say, our eyes are wide open. We have been saying that for some time. There was no path to a relationship with China as long as the two Michaels were being detained,” Garneau said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Garneau received the two Canadians on Saturday when they arrived in Calgary, Alberta, after spending more than 1,000 days in solitary confinement.

Spavor was accused of supplying photographs of military equipment to Kovrig and sentenced in August to 11 years in jail. Kovrig had been awaiting sentencing.

Trudeau, who won a third term last Monday after a tight election race, had vowed to improve ties with China after becoming prime minister in 2015, building on his father’s success in establishing diplomatic ties with China in 1970.

But even before Meng’s arrest, Canada‘s repeated questioning of China’s human rights positions had irked Beijing, and the two countries have failed to come closer.

China has always denied any link between Meng’s extradition case and the detention of the two Canadians, but Garneau said that “the immediate return of the two Michaels linked” it to Meng’s case in a “very direct manner.”

Garneau said he had heard about the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) several weeks ago, which opened the door to the return of the two men.

Canadian Ambassador to the United States Kirsten Hillman denied Washington had made the release of Kovrig and Spavor a condition for the resolution of the charges against Meng.

“Absolutely not. The DPA and the resolution of the charges against Ms. Meng was a completely independent process, and it was proceeding as it did,” Hillman told Canadian broadcaster CTV.

Garneau also said he did not think the timing of the men’s return had anything to do with that of the federal election.

“I think it just worked out that way.”

(Reporting by Denny Thomas; Editing by Grant McCool and Peter Cooney)

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