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Canada won’t be welcoming unvaccinated tourists any time soon: Trudeau – Global News

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With COVID-19 numbers dipping across the country and several provinces gradually easing back to normalcy, many Canadians have been wondering when it will be OK for unvaccinated people to travel freely once again. Putting a rest to this notion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday clarified that it is “not going to happen for quite a while.”

Read more:
Canada has few Lambda variant cases, but ‘full impact’ still unclear: Tam

“We need to continue to ensure that the safety of Canadians, of all the sacrifices that so many people have made over the past many, many months are not for nothing,” Trudeau said at a press conference in British Columbia.


Click to play video: 'Canadian travel restrictions ease for fully vaccinated passengers'



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Canadian travel restrictions ease for fully vaccinated passengers


Canadian travel restrictions ease for fully vaccinated passengers

“If you are wondering when unvaccinated tourists can come to Canada, I can tell you right now that’s not going to happen for quite a while.”

Read more:
Fully vaccinated but left out: Canada’s new border rules put some in a conundrum

The prime minister’s comments come after the government this week waived off quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated citizens. However, non-essential foreign travelers are still not allowed to enter Canada despite pressure from the country’s hurting tourism sector.

The United States does not have vaccine requirements for visitors. However, for Canada, talks about lifting border restrictions at this point are focused entirely on fully vaccinated travellers, Trudeau said.

“The next step we’ll be looking at what measures we can allow for international travellers who are fully vaccinated,” he said. “We will have more to say in the coming weeks.”


Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Canada’s new border rules leave out some fully vaccinated'



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COVID-19: Canada’s new border rules leave out some fully vaccinated


COVID-19: Canada’s new border rules leave out some fully vaccinated

Trudeau has previously said authorities are looking closely at domestic vaccination rates, the spread of variants of concern, and how the rest of the world deals with COVID-19.

He said the focus right now is “on supporting Canadians and continuing to go through this pandemic and continuing to recover our economies.”

“I know how difficult this past year and a half has been for our tourism sector,” he said, acknowledging how trying the pandemic has been for small and large businesses alike.

“We were there for them and we will continue to do everything we can to reopen everything safely and rapidly,” he added.


Click to play video: 'Demand for domestic travel ramps up'



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Demand for domestic travel ramps up


Demand for domestic travel ramps up

Meanwhile, vaccinated Canadians are still confused about vaccine protocols they may face on their flight or cruise or at their resort or hotel should they decide to go on vacation. According to travel agents, some Canadians who are fully vaccinated are looking for assurances that their fellow travellers will be too.

“There’s a group of travellers that are just so happy to be able to travel again that they’re not going to be as concerned,” said Allison Wallace, Vancouver-based spokeswoman for Flight Centre Travel Group. “But there’s definitely a portion of the population that’s very concerned.”

Already, some tourism operators have come up with their own protocols to give vaccinated travellers peace of mind.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced this spring it would require full proof of vaccination from travellers before they board. Royal Caribbean has taken a different approach by establishing a two-tiered system on one of its ships this summer. Passengers who can’t provide proof of vaccination will not be allowed to access certain areas of the ship, like the spa and casino, and will also have to eat at different times than fully vaccinated passengers.

Wallace said enforcing separate rules for different categories of passengers could prove problematic.

“We’ve already seen people in just regular businesses and stores who don’t think they have to abide by the rules. I think you’re going to have a lot of confrontations and there’s going to be a lot of frustration,” she said.


Click to play video: 'How wealthy Canadians travelled during COVID-19'



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How wealthy Canadians travelled during COVID-19


How wealthy Canadians travelled during COVID-19

Still, Wallace said travellers are likely to encounter vaccine-based privileges and restrictions for a while, at least until the tourism industry recovers from the economic blows of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The industry as a whole understands that confidence is key. And if there’s big outbreak at a resort or a cruise line, the negative connotations that go along with that . . . can really hurt businesses,” she said.

Ken Stewart, owner of Crowfoot Travel Solutions in Calgary, said he is facing a lot of questions about travelling with children who are still too young to have their vaccinations. He said the answers vary depending on the destination, and he can usually only provide a “best guess” as to what the situation will be next month, or even next week.

“Things change on a daily basis, and sometimes I’m as confused as my clients,” Stewart.

However, one thing is clear, Stewart said, and that is in the immediate future, travelling is going to be much easier for those who are vaccinated than those who aren’t.

Read more:
Want to skip Canada’s quarantine hotels? Depends on which COVID-19 vaccine you got

Lesley Keyter, founder and chief executive of The Travel Lady Agency in Calgary, agrees.

“I heard a story yesterday about some people, unvaccinated, who headed off to Greece on holiday and then couldn’t get into any restaurants because they had to show proof of vaccination,” she said. “You have to be so careful checking all the requirements before you leave. It’s all about the fine details.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

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

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Canada’s wildfires could cost billions, kill thousands if nothing is done: report – Global News

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Western Canada must urgently address the threats posed by highly destructive wildfires or face deadly and costly consequences, says a group of forest and environmental experts from British Columbia and the United States.

The experts, including Mathieu Bourbonnais, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of B.C. Okanagan, predict devastating wildfires like those currently burning in B.C. will be “commonplace” by 2050.

The group has released a paper predicting billions of dollars spent on suppression and indirect costs from the fires _ as well as hundreds or thousands of premature deaths each year due to smoke exposure _ ifaction isn’t taken to address climate change and the “daunting” scale of fuel, such as fallen trees and dead vegetation, that’s built up.

“If you look at record-breaking seasons, we’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on fire suppression,” said Bourbonnais, a former wildland firefighter from Alberta.


Click to play video: 'Concerns about the adverse effects of B.C. wildfire smoke pollution'



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Concerns about the adverse effects of B.C. wildfire smoke pollution


Concerns about the adverse effects of B.C. wildfire smoke pollution

“You can think about, if you spread that out over a couple of seasons, how may communities we could be engaged with on protecting watersheds, protecting drinking water sources, the communities themselves, high-value infrastructure, the ecosystems,” he said in an interview. “By doing that, we’re investing in a future that hopefully we don’t need to spend those kind of dollars on fire suppression.”

The group’s paper suggests creating patches of space in the forest that contain less flammable material, a strategy that can also boost the efficacy of fire suppression efforts, said Bourbonnais.

“Rather than crews responding to a fire with nothing but fuel in front of them, there are natural fire breaks, there’s old prescribed burns that help slow the fire down.”

Read more:
B.C. wildfire update: A pause in rapid fire growth but forecast remains hot and dry

Asked about the paper, the director of fire centre operations for the BC Wildfire Service said there was recognition of the work that needed to be done with communities as well as reducing fuel in the forests following historic wildfire seasons in 2017 and 2018.

“I’m part of many different planning tables and discussions within this province and within this ministry on how do we do this better,” Rob Schweitzer told a news conference on Thursday.

“Through prescribed fire, through utilization of Indigenous traditional knowledge in use of fire, as well as amending our forest harvesting practices and the woody debris left behind, are all pieces that we continue to discuss and actually start to change policy and implement new strategies to help reduce that amount of fuel.”


Click to play video: 'South Okanagan couple loses home to Nk’Mip Creek wildfire'



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South Okanagan couple loses home to Nk’Mip Creek wildfire


South Okanagan couple loses home to Nk’Mip Creek wildfire

About 1,250 wildfires have charred 4,560 square kilometres of bush since the start of B.C.’s fire season in April, compared with the 10-year average of 658 fires and about 1,060 square kilometres burned over the same time period, Schweitzer said.

Three dozen of the 245 wildfires that were burning in B.C on Thursday were considered either extremely threatening or highly visible, including a 655-square-kilometre fire north of Kamloops Lake that prompted an evacuation order for nearly 300 properties.

There were 28 states of local emergency and more than 60 evacuation orders covering 3,443 properties on Thursday. Nearly 90 evacuation alerts covered 17,679 properties, where residents were told to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, said Pader Brach, executive director of regional operations for Emergency Management BC.

The number of daily new fires has subsided this week, Schweitzer said.


Click to play video: 'Concern over long-term impact of Ontario wildfires'



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Concern over long-term impact of Ontario wildfires


Concern over long-term impact of Ontario wildfires

But higher temperatures are expected to contribute to “severe burning conditions” in B.C.’s southern half, he added. The forecast should bring more fresh air to the Interior, he said, fuelling a “short-lived increase in fire growth” but also aiding firefighting efforts by air, which have been hampered by smoky skies.

The service also anticipates some lighting this weekend, Schweitzer said, and crews are standing ready if new fires start.

Environment Canada issued heat warnings stretching across B.C.’s southern Interior, inland sections of the north and central coasts, as well as the south coast and parts of Vancouver Island. The wildfire service warns the combination of high temperatures and low relative humidity will make fires even more intense.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Northern Canada may be a popular destination at the end of the world – CTV News

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TORONTO —
In the event of societal collapse, researchers suggest northern Canada may be “habitable” and could act as a lifeboat, but that other countries are better suited for survival.

The researchers found that Earth is in a “perilous state” due to rapid population growth and an energy consuming society that has altered the Earth’s system and biosphere. They say that societal collapse could happen in various forms, including economic collapse, worsening climate catastrophe, a pandemic worse than COVID-19, or another mass extinction event, which the researchers say is already underway.

The goal of the study, published in the journal Sustainability on July 21, was to create a shortlist of nations that could host survivors in the event of a societal collapse, where civilization could start over. The researchers evaluated the land, how much was available and its quality, how easy or difficult it is to travel to the country, available renewable resources, climate and agriculture, to determine where it would be best to survive the end of the world.

Islands with low population density, particularly those with distinct seasonal changes, fared the best with New Zealand topping the list. Iceland, U.K., Australia (specifically Tasmania) and Ireland made up the rest of the shortlist where it would be best for society to restart after a collapse.

Northern Canada, while not on the shortlist, could act as a “lifeboat” in the event of societal collapse due to climate change and extreme temperatures, but survival would rely on maintaining agriculture and renewable energy sources to keep the population alive.

The researchers showed that the shortlisted countries had strong renewable energy sources, were in temperate climates, and have plenty of agricultural land and space for growth. In the case of Iceland, where suitable land for livestock is not in abundance, this downside is offset by fisheries and the island’s wealth of renewable resources, of which geothermal resources have already been widely developed.

While this may give Canadians living in northern regions a chance to breathe a sigh of relief, there are still zombie fires to contend with as climate change warms the north and shortens winters.

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

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The latest:

Health authorities in Thailand are racing to set up a large field hospital in a cargo building at one of Bangkok’s airports as the country reports record numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths.

Other field hospitals are already in use in the capital after it ran out of hospital facilities for thousands of infected residents. Workers rushed to finish the 1,800-bed hospital at Don Mueang International Airport, where beds made from cardboard box materials are laid out with mattresses and pillows.

The airport has had little use because almost all domestic flights were cancelled two weeks ago. The field hospital is expected to be ready for patients in two weeks.

The quick spread of the delta variant also led neighbouring Cambodia to seal its border with Thailand on Thursday and order a lockdown and movement restrictions in eight provinces.

-From The Associated Press, last updated at 6:30 a.m. ET


What’s happening in Canada

WATCH | Get the latest on Alberta’s plan to ease restrictions: 

Alberta will be pulling back on requirements for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and quarantines, despite rising cases in the province. 2:05


What’s happening around the world

Spain’s head coach David Martin Lozano, left, is interviewed under COVID-19 precautions after a win over Serbia in a preliminary round men’s water polo match at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo on Sunday. (Mark Humphrey/The Associated Press)

As of early Thursday morning, more than 196 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 4.1 million deaths had been reported.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Tokyo reported 3,865 new cases on Thursday, up from 3,177 on Wednesday and double the number it had a week ago. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katunobu Kato told reporters the new cases are soaring not only in the Tokyo area but also across the country. He said Japan has never experienced an expansion of infections of this magnitude.

The World Health Organization’s Africa director says the continent of 1.3 billion people is entering an “encouraging phase after a bleak June” as supplies of COVID-19 vaccines increase. But Matshidiso Moeti told reporters on Thursday that just 10 per cent of the doses needed to vaccinate 30 per cent of Africa’s population by the end of 2021 have arrived. Some 82 million doses have arrived in Africa so far, while 820 million are needed.

A health worker administers a dose of the Janssen Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in Dakar on Wednesday. Senegal is seeing an uptick in cases, sparking worry among health-care workers. (Leo Correa/The Associated Press)

Less than two per cent of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated, and the more infectious delta variant is driving a deadly resurgence of cases.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel on vaccine deliveries to Africa but it must not be snuffed out again,” Moeti said. 

In the Americas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday that 66.6 per cent of U.S. counties had transmission rates of COVID-19 high enough to warrant indoor masking and should immediately resume the policy.

COVID-19 continues to inflict a devastating toll on the Americas, with Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador and Paraguay among the countries with the world’s highest weekly death rates, the Pan American Health Organization said.

In the Middle East, Iran on Wednesday reported 33,817 new cases of COVID-19 and 303 additional deaths. The country, which has been hit hard by COVID-19, is experiencing yet another surge in cases.

In Europe, Spain’s prime minister said existing measures to protect the most vulnerable from the pandemic’s economic fallout will be prolonged until the end of October.

Spain, one of the countries that was hardest hit at the beginning of the health emergency, has extended subsidies for the unemployed and furloughs for companies that have gone out of business to try to cushion an economic drop of 11 per cent of its gross domestic product in 2020.

-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 11:15 a.m. ET

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