Current COVID-19 border restrictions largely ineffective at protecting Canadians: report

By Cormac Mac Sweeney

With the federal government set to announce an end to COVID-19 border restrictions, a new report from several doctors claims many of those measures failed.

The report, prepared for the Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable which has been advocating for the end of travel restrictions, says current border restrictions are largely ineffective at protecting Canadians from COVID.

Dr. David Carr, an emergency room physician with the University Health Network, says early in the pandemic travel measures worked to flatten the curve along with domestic lockdowns. But they failed to stop variants from entering Canada and are no longer effective now that Omicron is being widely spread.

“Border restrictions are not necessary in a society as highly vaccinated and has access to readily available treatments,” said Carr.

“Studies have shown that these restrictions have failed to prevent these variants of concern from entering prospective countries and may have only delayed the peak of the wave by about three to four days.”

Dr. Zain Chagla, and associate professor at McMaster University, says masking on planes and trains should also become an individual choice as it is now in the rest of society.

“Public transit, going to work and school, and visiting the grocery store pose more of a significant threat,” he said.

The federal government is expected to let measures like vaccine mandates and mandatory use of the ArriveCan app expire at the end of the month, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won’t say what will happen.

“We will continue to be informed by science on all those decisions,” adding when they have an announcement to make they will let the media know.

On June 20, Canada suspended COVID-19 vaccine mandates for domestic travel on planes and trains and outbound international travellers.

The Canadian government has also since lifted COVID-19 vaccine mandates for federally regulated workers, including those in public service, the RCMP, and transport workers, including truckers.

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