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COVID-19 test not needed to cross US land border – CTV News

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TORONTO —
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced on Friday that a negative COVID-19 test will not be required to enter the country through its land border and ferry terminals, which are scheduled to open on Nov. 8.

When arriving at a land border crossing or a ferry terminal, non-U.S. citizens will only be required to present proof that they are fully vaccinated.

“We are pleased to take another step toward easing travel restrictions at our borders in a manner that strengthens our economy and protects the health and safety of the American public,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a news release.

Earlier this month, U.S. officials also confirmed that non-U.S. citizens with mixed vaccine doses would also be accepted. Canada and some other countries have allowed the mixing of viral vector vaccines like AstraZeneca with the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines, while the U.S. has not.

While a COVID-19 test won’t be required to enter the U.S., travellers will still need to take a PCR test to cross back into Canada. These tests can cost upwards of $200.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, defended the testing requirement on Friday, citing the uncertainty surrounding the Delta variant and lingering questions about how long vaccines remain effective.

The U.S. still requires a negative COVID-19 test for air travellers entering the country. However, travellers can opt for the much cheaper antigen test, which isn’t accepted for entry into Canada.

With files from The Canadian Press. 

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Coronavirus: Femicide rate on rise, Canadian researcher says – CTV News

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TORONTO —
There has been a surge in femicide – the gender- and sex-related killing of women and girls – around the world in recent years, with the pandemic playing a role, says a Canadian gender-based violence expert.

Repeated lockdowns and limited access to services and shelters, as well as tense home environments, all a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, have contributed to a steady rise in femicide, according to University of Guelph researcher Mryna Dawson.

“The numbers are showing increases over the three years – pre-COVID-19, beginning of COVID-19 and as COVID-19 continues – and in that context, it is something that we should be concerned about,” she said in a news release.

“Not only because the numbers are increasing, but because these numbers are only capturing women and girls who were killed. This does not capture the increase in those who have and continue to experience violence.”

Those previously mentioned numbers paint a bleak picture. According to the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, of which Dawson is the director, there were 92 women and girls killed in the first six months of 2021 compared to 78 during the same period in 2020 and 60 during the same period in 2019 across the country.

“That’s an increase of 32 women and girls killed from 2019 to 2021,” she said. “Canada is not the only country experiencing these continual increases in numbers. It’s a global trend.”

It’s possible the uptick may be the result of changing dynamics in the home due to lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, which could have led to bad domestic situations for victims of violence becoming even worse.

“These orders do not suddenly turn previously non-violent men into violent men,” Dawson said. “Instead, it’s likely exacerbated the violence some women and children have already been living with and limiting their options in terms of dealing with it like they may have done before the pandemic.”

There are also fewer options available for those who may be in need of services and shelters due to restrictions brought on by the pandemic.

In addition, women have been more negatively affected than men during the pandemic in terms of job losses and reduced access to childcare.

“We know that a key contributor to male violence against women is gender inequality and the pandemic has significantly increased inequality,” Dawson said. “Throughout the pandemic, women have lost more jobs, are picking up childcare responsibilities and stepping in to educate children when schools close. This is what disaster patriarchy looks like. When there is a disaster, women are typically impacted more profoundly than men, materially speaking and in terms of experiences of violence. They are closely connected.”

Nov. 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It’s a day the United Nations kicks off 16 days of activism leading up to World Human Rights Day on Dec. 10. The federal government is encouraging Canadians to participate.

“Living in fear of violence is a reality for too many Canadian women,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement Thursday. “More than four in 10 women in Canada have experienced some form of psychological, physical, or sexual violence from an intimate partner. Some women and girls continue to be at a higher risk of gender-based violence due to the discrimination and additional barriers they face because of their sexuality, race, disability, or social and economic situation.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there have been escalated rates of gender-based violence around the world. The social and economic impact of the public health emergency has resulted in a shadow pandemic. It has underscored the systemic issues that lead to violence, as well as the gaps in support to protect and prevent those at risk from harm.”

Trudeau highlighted some of the government’s efforts, including the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence and 2021 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan.

Without real societal changes, Dawson says, rates of femicide will remain stable and possibly increase with variables such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While the pandemic has changed the dynamics of violence in some ways, the experiences, consequences and solutions have not changed significantly, so everything that feminists and anti-violence against women organizations have been saying for decades still applies,” she said. “Gender equality or equity is key. We cannot fully prevent violence without addressing the contributions of misogyny and male entitlement.”

———-

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and seeking help you can access the following service:

Assaulted Women’s Helpline: toll-free line 24/7 at 1-866-863-0511, or online Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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

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The latest:

A slew of nations moved to stop air travel from southern Africa on Friday in reaction to news of a new, potentially more transmissible coronavirus variant.

“The last thing we need is to bring in a new variant that will cause even more problems,” said German Health Minister Jens Spahn, amid a massive spike in cases in the 27-nation European Union.

“Early indications show this variant may be more transmissible than the delta variant and current vaccines may be less effective against it,” British Health Secretary Sajid Javid told lawmakers. “We must move quickly and at the earliest possible moment.”

Within a few days of the discovery of the new variant, it has already impacted on a jittery society that is sensitive to bad COVID-19 news, with deaths around the globe standing at over five million.

The coronavirus evolves as it spreads, and many new variants, including those with worrying mutations, often just die out. Scientists monitor for possible changes that could be more transmissible or deadly, but sorting out whether new variants will have a public health impact can take time. Currently identified as B.1.1.529, the new variant has also been found in Botswana and Hong Kong in travellers from South Africa.

The WHO’s technical working group is to meet Friday to assess the new variant and may decide whether to give it a name from the Greek alphabet. 

Israel, one of the world’s most vaccinated countries, announced Friday that it has detected the country’s first case of the new variant in a traveller who returned from Malawi. The traveller and two other suspected cases have been placed in isolation. The country said all three are vaccinated but that it is currently looking into their exact vaccination status.

The World Health Organization cautioned not to jump to conclusions too fast.

Speaking before the EU announcement, Dr. Michael Ryan, the head of emergencies at the WHO, said that “it’s really important that there are no knee-jerk responses.”

“We’ve seen in the past, the minute there’s any kind of mention of any kind of variation and everyone is closing borders and restricting travel. It’s really important that we remain open, and stay focused,” Ryan said.

It quickly fell on deaf ears.

Travel restrictions

The U.K. announced that it was banning flights from South Africa and five other southern African countries effective at noon on Friday, and that anyone who had recently arrived from those countries would be asked to take a coronavirus test.

In a statement posted online Friday, South Africa said that while it respects the right of other countries to protect their citizens, “the U.K.’s decision to temporarily ban South Africans from entering the U.K. seems to have been rushed as even the World Health Organization is yet to advise on the next steps.”

Germany said its flight ban could be enacted as soon as Friday night. Spahn said airlines coming back from South Africa will only be able to transport German citizens home, and travellers will need to go into quarantine for 14 days whether they are vaccinated or not. The country has seen new record daily case numbers in recent days and passed the mark of 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday.

Italy’s health ministry also announced measures to ban entry into Italy of anyone who has been in seven southern African nations — South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini — in the past 14 days due to the new variant. The Netherlands is planning similar measures.

The Japanese government announced that from Friday, Japanese nationals travelling from Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Lesotho will have to quarantine at government-dedicated accommodation for 10 days and do a COVID test on Day 3, Day 6 and Day 10. Japan has not yet opened up to foreign nationals.

In Washington, top U.S. infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci said no decision had been made on a possible U.S. travel ban. There was no indication that the variant was in the United States, and it was unclear whether it was resistant to current vaccines, he told CNN.

-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 9:30 a.m. ET


What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Rolling out COVID-19 vaccinations to younger children as well as boosters for adults are expected to play key roles in helping to prevent a fifth wave of COVID-19, experts say: 

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What’s happening around the world

Medical personnel of the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces, load COVID-19 patients onto a plane during a transfer of patients out of Bavaria during the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic on Friday. (Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images)

As of early Friday morning, more than 260.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus database. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.1 million.

In Europe, the German air force will begin assisting the transfer of intensive care patients Friday as the government warned that the situation in the country is more serious than at any point in the pandemic. Citing the sharp rise in cases, Health Minister Jens Spahn said contacts between people need to be sharply reduced to curb the spread of the virus.

“The situation is dramatically serious, more serious than it’s been at any point in the pandemic,” he told reporters in Berlin.

Meanwhile, the European Union said on Friday that it will ease its restrictions on exporting COVID-19 vaccines.

The Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said that as of January it will no longer require vaccine producers to request special authorization to export outside the 27-nation bloc.

People wait in line outside a COVID-19 testing station on Friday in Berlin, Germany, where cases have been surging. (Omer Messinger/Getty Images)

Earlier this year when vaccines were still in short supply, the EU introduced a mechanism to keep some of the jabs it secured from AstraZeneca, the Anglo-Swedish drug company, from being diverted elsewhere. The export control system, aimed at making sure large drug companies would respect their contracts, was used by the EU in March, when a shipment of more than a quarter of a million AstraZeneca vaccines destined for Australia was blocked from leaving.

When the dispute with AstraZeneca broke, the EU was lagging well behind the United States and other countries in COVID-19 vaccinations. According to Stella Kyriakides, the commissioner for health, the bloc has now vaccinated over 65 per cent of the total EU population of some 450 million inhabitants.

In Africa, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will convene a coronavirus council on Sunday, as the country said the U.K.’s ban on flights from six southern African countries over the variant seemed rushed.

In the Americas, millions of Americans got booster shots at a near-record pace after the Biden administration expanded eligibility last week, but health officials concerned about climbing infections ahead of the winter holiday season urged more to get the additional protection.

WATCH | Should N-95s become the new mask standard? 

Should N-95s become the new mask standard?

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In the Asia-Pacific region, drugmakers Pfizer Inc. and MSD, known as Merck & Co Inc. in the United States and Canada, have agreed to give licences to firms in Vietnam to produce COVID-19 treatment pills.

In the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned of a looming “state of emergency” due to the new variant detected in South Africa.

-From Reuters and The Associated Press, last updated at 9:30 a.m. ET

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Canada's travel vaccine rules as of Nov. 30 – CTV News

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TORONTO —
As of Nov. 30, the transition period allowing for a negative COVID-19 test from those looking to travel by plane, train or ship in Canada will end, meaning all travellers must be fully vaccinated before boarding and provide proof of that.

The travel rules, which were announced by the federal government at the beginning of October, officially came into effect Oct. 30. However, there was a month-long transition period that allowed those who don’t qualify as fully vaccinated to travel if they can show a negative COVID-19 molecular test taken within 72 hours of travel.

Starting Tuesday at 3:01 a.m. EDT, a negative COVID-19 test will no longer be accepted as an alternative to vaccination.

This means that if you cannot prove that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you will not be allowed to board. Travel Canada says there will be “very limited exemptions” to this rule, such as medical inability to be vaccinated.

Other rules implemented earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic for travellers, including mandatory masks, health check questions, and negative test requirements for international travellers, remain in place.

While airlines were selecting travellers departing from a Canadian airport on a random basis — as per Transport Canada guidelines — to show evidence of COVID-19 vaccination during the transition period, both Air Canada and WestJet have told CTVNews.ca that they will have a system in place as of Nov. 30 for customers to submit their proof of vaccination online ahead of arrival at an airport.

RULES FOLLOWING TRANSITION PERIOD

According to the Government of Canada, anyone who is 12 years of age plus four months or older will need to provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In order to board, all travellers must have received their second dose at least 14 days before their departure date.

The rules apply to anyone who is travelling by plane on domestic, transborder or international flights departing from Canadian airports, and rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains.

“If you’re unable to provide proof of vaccination or a valid COVID-19 test result, you will not be allowed to travel. If you indicate to your airline or railway that you’re eligible to board, but fail to provide proof, you could also face penalties or fines,” Transport Canada said in a notice online.

If a child has just turned 12, there is a four-month exemption period following their 12th birthday in which they will not be required to be vaccinated. Travel Canada noted that this gives children the time to receive both shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Transport Canada told CTVNews.ca that children under 12 years and four months are not required to be vaccinated or provide a valid COVID-19 test result for travel within Canada or to depart Canada. However, international destinations may have different requirements.

“Any adjustments to travel measures will continue to be examined, based on scientific evidence, public health advice, and the evolving epidemiological situation, as has been the case since the onset of the pandemic,” Transport Canada said in email on Nov. 24.

PROOF OF VACCINATION

While most provinces and territories issue and use the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination, Alberta currently has its own, provincial form of a vaccine certificate acceptable for travel.

The federal government says Canadians should be ready at any point in their journey to show their proof of vaccination.

If you plan to show your proof of vaccination on your phone, the government recommends travellers carry a back up, paper copy in case of “difficulties,” such as the device having a dead battery.

The government notes that the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination does not guarantee entry into another country, and says travellers should check if there are any restrictions at their final destination before travelling abroad.

For those who do not have Canadian documents, their proof of vaccination must include the following information:

  • full name of the person who received the vaccine;
  • the name of the government or organization that issued the proof or administered the vaccine;
  • the brand name or manufacturer of the vaccine or of the mix of accepted vaccines
  • the date you received your second dose or your first dose of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson

If your proof of vaccination is not in English or French, you will need a certified translation in either of these languages.

WHICH VACCINES ARE ACCEPTED?

Those aged 12 and up will have to provide proof that they have received both doses of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine series or a mix of two accepted vaccines.

The rules specify, though, that you must have received the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to your departure date.

Currently, travellers will be permitted to board if they have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty), the Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine or the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine.

Canadians are also permitted to travel if they have received at least one dose of the Janssen/Johnson and Johnson vaccine, as long as they received the shot 14 days before their travel date.

The federal government announced earlier this month that travellers who have received the Sinopharm, Sinovac and Covaxin COVID-19 vaccines will be considered fully vaccinated for travel purposes by Nov. 30, matching the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use by the World Health Organization.

RE-ENTRY TEST REQUIREMENTS

As of Nov. 30, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning home after short trips to the United States and abroad will no longer have to provide proof of a negative molecular test, such as a PCR test.

The federal government announced Nov. 19 that it would be lifting the molecular test requirement for travellers who have received a complete COVID-19 vaccine series when returning to Canada after less than 72 hours.

However, a molecular test is still required for re-entry of those taking trips abroad lasting more than 72 hours.

CRUISE SHIPS

The proof of vaccination rules also apply to travellers looking to board a cruise ship in Canada, once those trips resume.

Transport Canada says anyone boarding a cruise ship or other passenger vessel where the trip will last more than 24 hours will need to show proof of vaccination.

While the federal government has lifted the global advisory asking Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country, it is continuing to advise against travel on cruise ships.

FLY-IN COMMUNITY EXEMPTION

Those living in fly-in communities will be exempt from the vaccine travel requirement for certain domestic trips.

According to the government’s new rules, passengers from small or remote communities who are unvaccinated will still be able to obtain essential services for their medical, health or social well-being, and return safely to their homes.

With files from CTVNews.ca’s Hannah Jackson

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