Since July 5, all eligible air travellers who are fully vaccinated are exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine — but only if Health Canada authorized the vaccine that the traveller used.
Li, who went home to see family in Nanjing back in April, got one dose of the Sinovac vaccine and another of the Sinopharm shot one month apart.
“When I left Canada, the vaccine wasn’t readily available for people of my age yet in Toronto, so I decided it’s my best chance to get a vaccine in China,” the 30-year-old told Global News.
But now, Li, who is a food industry analyst and often travels to the United States for work, finds herself in a bit of a conundrum as she will still need to quarantine every time she returns to Canada.
“Obviously it’s going to cause a lot of inconvenience.”
Returning Canadian travellers encounter confusion with looser COVID-19 restrictions
So far, the federal government has approved four COVID-19 vaccines for use: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
Two other vaccines from Medicago and Novavax are currently under review by Health Canada.
No applications for China’s vaccines have been submitted to the regulator yet. But the shots have been given the green light by the World Health Organization (WHO) and are being doled out in several Asian and Latin American countries.
“I think as long as the vaccine is approved by WHO, then the Canadian government should recognize it as well,” said Li.
Freya Ma is in a similar boat. The 23-year-old Chinese national was fully vaccinated in Shanghai in April before flying back to Toronto, where she resides.
Ma says even though she feels safe after getting her two doses, Canada’s border restrictions are an “inconvenience.”
“But for now, I am just really being optimistic … and hoping … the government will … welcome … more types of vaccine.”
WHO approves Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use
Canadians who have received both doses of the vaccine will no longer have to wear masks or physically distance when outside with small groups of people from multiple households — even if those people are unvaccinated. However, they’ll need to wait 14 days after their second shot to be considered fully protected.
Under the PHAC guidelines, fully vaccinated people in Canada can hug, go camping with friends, have small family barbecues, play close contact sports and attend outdoor weddings as well as outdoor birthday parties.
Because the same rules do not apply to them, both Li and Ma are left wondering if they would need to get vaccinated again with one of the shots authorized by Canada.
“I’m thinking if it will never be recognized, I might have to get some vaccine that’s approved here, just because I have to go back to normal life,” said Li.
Canada’s new travel quarantine rules expected to deter international family vacations: expert
In the Middle East, both Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) have offered the Pfizer vaccine as a booster shot to those who have been fully vaccinated with Sinopharm.
Alberto Martin, a professor of immunology at the University of Toronto, says from a health standpoint, there should be no concern in doing so.
“I don’t see any reason why there will be any issues with those people that have been immunized with the Chinese vaccine and just getting re-immunized here in Canada with Pfizer or AstraZeneca,” he told Global News.
“From a medical perspective, I don’t see it hurting. It can only help.”
The differential treatment at Canada’s border is also affecting vaccinated people who want to see family in Canada.
Graciela D’Andrea, 65, got her first dose of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine back in April and is awaiting the second dose. Her husband has been fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca.
The Argentine couple was hoping to visit their son and daughter-in-law in Toronto, who they haven’t seen in over a year and a half. But D’Andrea says the two-week quarantine is an impediment.
“I find it unfair that people can enter but because I am vaccinated with Sputnik, I can’t [without quarantine],” she told Global News in Spanish.
“My husband can enter without it because he got AstraZeneca.”
D’Andrea is hoping all countries start easing restrictions for vaccinated travellers.
“The most important thing is that we’re vaccinated against the coronavirus. It shouldn’t matter what the brand of the vaccine is.”
Freedom of movement
The WHO said last week that any COVID-19 vaccines it has authorized for emergency use should be recognized by countries as they open up their borders to inoculated travellers.
“Any measure that only allows people protected by a subset of WHO-approved vaccines to benefit from the re-opening of travel … would effectively create a two-tier system, further widening the global vaccine divide and exacerbating the inequities we have already seen in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines,” the global health body said in a July 1 statement.
In the United States, people who have received two doses of the mRNA vaccines — Pfizer and Moderna — and the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the inoculations. However, air passengers entering the U.S. are not required to quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status.
In Europe, France is accepting tourists who were inoculated with the four EU-approved vaccines — Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson.
But Spain is also allowing recipients of the two Chinese vaccines authorized by the WHO — as long as visitors are fully vaccinated at least two weeks before the trip.
European vaccine approvals could throw wrench in travel plans
Kerry Bowman, a professor of bioethics and global health at the University of Toronto, said Canada’s new policy excludes millions of people who have received the Sputnik V vaccine or one of China’s two vaccines.
“This [policy] is essentially vaccine passports,” he told Global News in a previous interview. “If every country does this, we’re going to have a huge problem on our hands in terms of access.”
Bowman pointed out that the AstraZeneca vaccine has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yet, so if that country followed Canada’s lead, then it would limit the freedom of movement for millions of Canadians.
According to Bowman, there should be an international standard set by the WHO for all the vaccines it has approved.
“We need international standards, not national. Otherwise, we’ve got problems with fairness and freedom of movement.”
— with files from Global News’ Eric Stober, Elizabeth Palmieri and The Association Press.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
How to play online casinos with minimal investment
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All three levels of government, police, organizers granted full standing on inquiry
OTTAWA — The commissioner of the inquiry examining Ottawa’s use of the Emergencies Act to bring an end to the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protest in February has granted standing to the organizers, police and representatives of all three levels of government.
The decision by Paul Rouleau means those granted standing will be given advance notice on information submitted into evidence before the inquiry, and also gives them certain privileges, such as the opportunity to suggest or cross-examine witnesses.
Those granted full standing in the public inquiry include the federal, Alberta and Saskatchewan governments, the cities of Ottawa and Windsor, Ont., the Ottawa Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police and the organizers of the convoy, including Tamara Lich, Tom Marazzo and Chris Barber.
Former Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly will be allowed to produce documents, make submissions on factual, evidentiary and policy-related issues and examine witnesses, and the Manitoba government has been granted permission to provide written submissions.
However, Rouleau denied standing to the Conservative Party of Canada and several participants of the protests, some of whom had their bank accounts frozen under the Act.
Rouleau said it is important that the inquiry remain an independent, non-partisan process, noting there is also the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the Declaration of Emergency reviewing the use of the Act’s powers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 27, 2022.
The Canadian Press
Ottawa police say they're ready to shut down Canada Day occupation attempts – CBC.ca
Ottawa city officials say they are prepared for a “unique” Canada Day, with plans to keep anti-government protests from turning into another occupation.
The traditional nationally broadcast shows are returning for the first time since 2019, this time from the plaza in front of the Canadian War Museum because of ongoing construction on Parliament Hill.
Ottawa police say they expect more protests and larger crowds than usual during Canada Day celebrations as groups related to the Freedom Convoy continue to plan demonstrations. Some in those groups have indicated they’d like to protest through July and August.
“This is expected to be a unique Canada Day, with larger crowds and a larger event footprint,” interim Ottawa police Chief Steve Bell said during a Monday news conference.
“We’ve developed our plans in the shadow of the unlawful protests and Rolling Thunder event. We’ve been speaking with community members and businesses and we’re very aware of the lingering trauma and concern about what they’re hearing after those events.”
Bell said officers will allow legal protests while shutting down illegal activities, including setting up structures or speakers without a permit and the threat of occupation, like on downtown streets in the winter.
He said police have been following online commentary and trying to talk to people who’ve said they’re coming to protest.
“[We’ve] planned, we’re prepared and we have the resources,” Bell replied when answering a question about whether police were ready to step in again like they did in late April, when attempts to gather near the Rideau Centre mall were shut down by officers.
Provincial police and the RCMP have offered help to shut down occupation attempts as long as there’s a risk, he said.
The Ottawa Police Services Board received an update on plans for Canada Day when it met Monday evening.
Bell spoke about the toll recent months have taken on officers, noting the demand is not “sustainable” and describing police as “fatigued” ahead of the long weekend.
“For this event we’ve actually had to cancel days off, we’ve cancelled discretionary time off, called people back from annual leave,” said the chief. “This is an all hands on deck event, but that has a cost on the health and wellbeing of our members.”
At least 5 days of traffic control
Last week, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told people thinking of coming to the capital “not to be intimidated by individuals who may be coming to Ottawa to cause trouble.”
He said Monday he wants this to be a safe, festive event for children and families and that people who “come to disrupt” will be dealt with, without a warning.
Bell told the police board that the force has been clear with its expectations for demonstrators, and that harassment won’t be tolerated.
“If there is a hate or bias crime incidents, if there’s intimidation or threats, we will actively investigate those,” he said, adding police know residents have “scars” from the occupation.
“I want to reassure you that those feelings, that trauma that our community has felt is front and centre in all of our planning efforts and will be front and centre in our response efforts.”
Overall, Bell said police are expecting hundreds of thousands of people downtown. For comparison, an estimated 56,000 people went to the shows on Parliament Hill in 2019 and that doesn’t count everyone celebrating nearby.
There will be the traditional Canada Day road closures Friday July 1 and early Saturday, though there are more closures near LeBreton Flats because of that change in show location.
But Ottawa police are establishing another “vehicle exclusion zone” — similar to what was set up in late April for the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally — with no street parking at all and no protest vehicles allowed in from 8 a.m. this Wednesday until at least 6 a.m. on Monday, July 4.
Those plans may change if needed, officials said Monday. People are asked to plan ahead, expect delays and check city pages and local media for updates.
How to play online casinos with minimal investment
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