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Congressman: U.S. won’t require COVID-19 test for vaccinated to cross land border

U.S. expected to release additional details prior to relaxing its border restrictions Nov. 8
The office of New York congressman Brian Higgins says U.S. Customs and Border Protection won’t be requiring a negative COVID-19 test in order to cross the land border with Canada. The U.S. border crossing is seen Monday, August 9, 2021 in Lacolle, Que., south of Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

The office of New York congressman Brian Higgins says the United States won’t be requiring fully vaccinated travellers to produce a negative COVID-19 test to cross the land border with Canada.

A spokesperson for Higgins says the agency is expected to release additional details in the next few days before the U.S. relaxes its border restrictions Nov. 8.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed for us again today that there will not be a testing requirement for vaccinated travellers to cross the land border,” the office said in a statement.

As of Nov. 8, fully vaccinated travellers who are flying to the U.S. for non-essential purposes will have to show proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as the results of a negative test that’s no more than 72 hours old.

Higgins has already called on Canada’s federal government to abandon its requirement that travellers submit the results of a costly PCR test before arriving at a land-border crossing.

He says the $200 test remains a significant deterrent to travel and a drag on the economic recovery in border communities.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, acknowledged Friday that testing is “very much a live issue” both inside the federal government, as well as in discussions with provinces and territories.

But as of now, she said the testing requirement remains an important safety measure, even with strong vaccination rates in Canada, particularly given the uncertainty surrounding the Delta variant and lingering questions about how long vaccines remain effective.

“No layer of protection is ever 100 per cent perfect, we know that,” Tam said.

“With all these considerations, I think having that additional layer of protection (from testing) is important at this time, but we will review it.”

Later Friday, the Washington-based Wilson Center will release a final report from its task force on public health and the border, a group that includes former public safety minister Anne McLellan and ex-Quebec premier Jean Charest.

—The Canadian Press

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