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U.S. extends travel restrictions at land border with Canada until Aug. 21 – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
The U.S. says it will extend its current land border restrictions until Aug. 21, days after the Canadian government announced it would permit fully vaccinated Americans travelling into the country for discretionary purposes as of Aug. 9.

In a notice posted to the Federal Register by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), officials wrote that the threat of COVID-19 transmission remains too high to ease measures.

“Given the outbreak and continued transmission and spread of COVID-19 within the United States and globally, the Secretary has determined that the risk of continued transmission and spread of the virus associated with COVID-19 between the United States and Canada poses an ongoing ‘specific threat to human life or national interests,’” the update reads.

The restrictions that allow only essential travel across the land border were set to expire Wednesday. Canadians who wish to travel to the U.S. can still do so by air but must submit a negative COVID-19 test three days prior to departure or proof from a licensed health-care provider that they have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Wednesday that he had been advised by the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security of the intention to renew the border restrictions that have been in place since March, 2020.

“Part of the relationship between ourselves and our colleagues and friends in the United States is an approach with no surprises at the border. Our work has always been collaborative, cooperative and very candid. We’re working very well together,” Blair said.

U.S. travellers who plan to enter Canada as of 12:01 a.m. EDT on Aug. 9 must have completed a full vaccination course with one of the four approved vaccines in Canada – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson – at least 14 days prior to arrival. They will be exempt from quarantine and post-arrival testing unless randomly selected.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it’s not up to Canada to “dictate” how and when the U.S. decides to reopen its border to Canadians and that the response to border measures from both governments has been “asymmetric” since the start of the pandemic.

“I think every country should and does set its own border policies. We have been working with the United States to keep them informed to make sure that as much as possible our choices are aligned, but you will have seen, everyone will have seen that our countries took different approaches certainly during the beginning of the pandemic,” he said.

New York Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins told CTV News Channel on Wednesday that he’s disappointed by the Biden administration’s decision to extend the restrictions.

“It’s unacceptable. The fact of the matter is we have been admonished by our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by the federal government in the United States to follow the science and the science says if you are fully vaccinated you could return to pre-pandemic activity,” he said, adding that the administration has failed to be transparent about the reasoning behind their decision.

Perrin Beatty, the president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, also shared his discontent with the move.

“On February 23 U.S. President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau issued a ‘Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership’ stating ‘Both leaders agreed to take a coordinated approach based on science and public health criteria when considering measures to ease Canada-U.S. border restrictions in the future.’ Less than five months later, Washington appears to have lost its copy,” he said in a statement to CTVNews.ca

“In contrast with its commitment, the U.S. decision is uncoordinated with Canada’s announcement on Monday of a border reopening, and it flies in the face of both science and the most recent public health data.”

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

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The latest:

Chinese authorities have announced mass coronavirus testing in Wuhan as an unusually wide series of COVID-19 outbreaks reached the city where the disease was first detected in late 2019.

The provincial capital of 11 million people in central China is the latest city to undergo city-wide testing. Three cases were confirmed in Wuhan on Monday, its first non-imported cases in more than a year.

China has largely curbed COVID-19 at home after the initial outbreak that devastated Wuhan and spread globally. Since then, authorities have tamped down and controlled the disease whenever it pops up with quick lockdowns and mass testing.

The current outbreaks are still in the hundreds of cases in total but have spread much more widely than previous ones. Many of the cases have been identified as the highly contagious delta variant.

The National Health Commission said Tuesday that 90 new cases had been confirmed the previous day.

-From The Associated Press, last updated at 7:05 a.m. ET


What’s happening in Canada

WATCH | Renewed concern over rising COVID-19 cases, delta variant: 

Despite Canada having one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, that might not be enough to slow the spread of COVID-19 driven by the highly contagious delta variant. 2:34


What’s happening around the world

A visitor submits her documents at the reception to receive a shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo on Monday. (Stanislav Kogiku/The Associated Press)

As of early Tuesday morning, more than 198.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported, according to Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.2 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan will focus on hospitalizing patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19 and those at risk of becoming so while others isolate at home amid worries about a strained medical system as cases surge in Olympics host city Tokyo.

Pakistan’s top health official says his country for the first time has administered one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine across the country in the past 24 hours. The latest development comes days after Pakistan imposed a lockdown in the southern port city of Karachi and in other high-risk areas.

In the Americas, the U.S. states of Florida and Louisiana were at or near their highest hospitalization numbers of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, a trend driven by the still-spreading delta variant.

Nearly three out of four Americans above the age of 18 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disesae Control.

In Africa, Morocco will lengthen its night curfew as it tightens restrictions to counter a surge in infections.

In the Middle East, Iran on Monday reported 37,189 new cases of COVID-19 — a single-day high, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracker. The country, which has been hit hard by several waves of the novel coronavirus, also saw 411 additional deaths.

In Europe, France’s overseas territory of Guadeloupe will to go into a new lockdown for at least three weeks.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted to get the travel industry moving again with a simple user-friendly system to allow for trips abroad without importing new virus variants.

From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 6:55 a.m. ET

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Canada fines travellers for fake vaccination and testing papers – BBC News

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A Covid screening centre at the Vancouver airport

Getty Images

Canada has fined two travellers arriving from the US who, officials say, forged Covid-19 testing and vaccination documents.

Each was fined C$19,720 ($16,000, £11,500) after inspectors at the Toronto airport found their vaccine cards and proof of testing were fake.

It comes as Canada is set to ease travel restrictions on US visitors.

Around the world, nations are grappling with how to re-open their borders to travellers amid a virus surge.

According to a statement from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the two unnamed travellers had entered Canada from the US during the week of 18 July.

The Canada Border Services Agency, which inspects Covid travel documents for authenticity, determined that the duo had faked the documents that they had uploaded to the government’s ArriveCAN travel website.

“The Government of Canada will continue to investigate incidents reported and will not hesitate to take enforcement action where it is warranted to protect the health of Canadians from the further spread of Covid-19 and its variants of concern,” the agency said in a statement.

Canada did not identify the travellers or their itineraries. The health agency told Newsweek in a statement that they were Canadian citizens.

Canada loosened requirements for international travellers on 5 July. Anyone entering the country must provide proof of vaccination. The unvaccinated have to submit to multiple tests, and stay for three days in a government-run hotel before quarantining for 14 days.

Canada will begin letting vaccinated Americans enter the country starting on 9 August.

The US border with Canada and Mexico, however, remains closed to foreigners until 21 August.

Other countries are quickly amending their travel restrictions, depending on the rise or fall of new infections and vaccinations.

On Monday, the UK began allowing vaccinated Americans and Europeans to enter without undergoing quarantine.

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US Customs agents arrest Canadian woman attempting to smuggle drugs – CTV Toronto

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CALGARY —
A Canadian woman has been caught attempting to import a significant quantity of cocaine into the country, U.S. border agents report.

The suspect, who was driving a commercial truck loaded with watermelons and peppers, attempted to cross into Canada at the office in Sweetgrass, Mont. on July 29.

Upon further inspection of the truck, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered a number of bags hidden among the cargo.

The substance inside the bags tested positive for cocaine, officials said. The total amount of drugs seized was 31.5 kilograms.

“Utilizing high-tech tools, our frontline CBP Officers used a combination of their training and experience to detect and seize 69.5 pounds of cocaine in the cargo environment,” said area port director Jason Greene, Sweetgrass Port of Entry, in a release.

“The ability to facilitate lawful trade and travel while sustaining a focus on enforcement, is critical to our border security mission.”

Charges are pending against the suspect, who has not been identified.

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