Canada welcomes fully vaccinated Americans

Canada welcomes fully vaccinated Americans with negative COVID test after 17-month border closure — while the US refuses to do the same.

Border crossings for non-essential travel between Canada resumed on Monday for the first time since March 2020

All US residents must show evidence of vaccination and have tested negative for coronavirus within the past three days.

Canadian officials have warned that additional steps could cause delays

Lines immediately started forming at border checkpoints at midnight, and some people waiting for up to seven hours

Nearly 60 percent of Canadians have been vaccinated, and infection rates among its population hover around 2.1 percent

The United States still does not allow any non-essential travel from Canada.

Canada on Monday lifted a ban on Americans crossing the border for non-essential travel, allowing vaccinated visitors to head north for the first time since March 2020.

Within minutes of the borders reopening at midnight, already long queues began to appear at the checkpoints, leaving some travelers waiting up to seven hours to pass.

To cross, Americans will need to show evidence of vaccination and have tested negative for Covid-19 from the previous three days. They must also fill out a detailed form on the CAN Arrival Request before transit, and the information must be provided within 72 hours before arrival.

Visitors from other countries will also be allowed into the country on September 7, provided that COVID rates in Canada remain low.

The development comes as Canada's coronavirus infection rate has fallen to 2.1%, with 524 cases recorded on Monday.

In addition, 71 percent of Canadians have received at least one vaccination dose, and nearly 60 percent have been fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the United States is still not allowing non-essential travel from Canada amid a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks.

As of Monday, the seven-day average of new cases was 89,977, up 33.7 percent from the previous week's average of 67,274. The country's positivity rate was 9.5%.

More than half of Americans have been fully vaccinated.

US travelers made their first trips across the US border Monday morning since the coronavirus forced its closure in March 2020

Within minutes of the border reopening at midnight on Monday, already long queues began forming at the checkpoints, leaving some travelers waiting up to seven hours to pass.

While vaccination has begun in Canada more slowly, nearly 60 percent of its population has been vaccinated, while 50 percent of Americans have so far.

With additional verification steps, the Canada Border Security Agency said travelers should plan for the possibility of increasing processing time at the border.

In a statement, agency spokeswoman Rebecca Purdy said that CBSA would not harm the health and safety of Canadians for waiting periods at the border.

As of Monday morning, wait times at 25 Canada border crossings it was ranged from up to 7 hours at the Fort Francis Bridge in Ontario.

While the Canada Border Services Agency has not specified how many people to expect, Vermont-based Garnet Health, Essex, which offers COVID-19 testing on the same day, has seen its number of tests more than triple in recent weeks.

The increase coincides with Canada's decision last month to scrap a two-week quarantine requirement for its citizens upon returning home from the United States.

The reopening comes as infection rates in Canada hovering around 2.1 percent. Nearly 60 percent of all Canadians have been fully vaccinated.

Visitors from the United States must show evidence of vaccination as well as a negative coronavirus test from the past.

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