Starting this month, Canada will require U.S. citizens entering the country to present a negative COVID-19 test to get in. According to a report by The Huffington Post, the new rule will go into effect starting on Feb. 15. This rule joins an existing requirement that anyone arriving in Canada by air must show similar credentials.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the new coronavirus test rule on Tuesday. Canada reportedly sees many more visitors entering by land at its southern border than it gets by air, and this new rule is part of the country's aggressive approach to stopping the spread of the pandemic within its borders. Authorities reportedly made this decision in light of the ongoing spread of COVID-19 variants that may be more contagious and dangerous than their counterparts.
Visitors to Canada must show PCR-based tests with a negative result for COVID-19. Visitors without this document will be turned away, though Canadian citizens cannot be denied entry. Instead, Trudeau said that Canadians crossing the border without a test will be fined up to $3,000.
Canada has reportedly seen 2.4 million visitors by airplane since the end of March, when the coronavirus pandemic reached the American continents. By comparison, the country has seen 2.9 million visitors arriving by land — not counting truck drivers. The Canadian Border Services Agency will be enforcing this new rule.
Like the rest of the world, Canada is focusing as much energy and resources as possible on the coronavirus vaccine roll-out. On Monday, the country's top public health officials officially agreed to recognize each vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as containing six doses, rather than five. This will increase the whole country's capacity for vaccinations.
"Based on its assessment, Health Canada has determined that each vial will reliably contain six doses of vaccine plus the sufficient overfill volume when proper technique is used," said Health Canada's chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma. This means that Pfizer can more easily fulfill its contract to ship four million doses of the vaccine to Canada by March, by decreasing the number of vials needed to meet that quota.
Still, like the U.S. and the rest of the world, Canada is spread thin in its vaccination efforts. At the time of this writing, there is no clear consensus on when the coronavirus vaccine will be distributed widely enough for daily life to resume as before.