David Zalubowski / AP
Americans desperate to leave the confines of their homes for a last-minute summer destination have a new option. Starting August 9, Canada will reopen its doors to fully vaccinated Americans for non-essential travel after more than a year of border closures between the two countries.
A month later, on September 7, fully immunized people from any country can travel to Canada for non-essential travel.
Canada has seen a steady decline in the number of cases since the spring. Canada recorded just 277 confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Monday, according to the World Health Organization. Over 44 million vaccines have been administered.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Tuesday said tourists were welcome, but added, “At every step, the safety of Canadians will continue to be our top priority.
The North American neighbor of the United States may be opening its doors in time for a summer trip, but the situation elsewhere is much more unpredictable.
This week, the State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the biggest warning against Americans traveling to the UK. The federal government has also issued travel advisories to Zimbabwe, Indonesia, Fiji and the British Virgin Islands, due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
The UK is seeing an increase in confirmed coronavirus infections due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. The strain is blamed on the increase in cases around the world, including in Southeast Asia and the United States
“Due to the current situation in the UK, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk of contracting and spreading variants of COVID-19,” the CDC said in its update.
To travel to the United States, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires all air passengers to show a negative COVID-19 test performed within three days of departure. Passengers can also show evidence of recovery from the virus within the past 90 days, according to the State Department.
An increase in cases does not stop the reopening
From July 13 to 19, the British government recorded 322,170 people testing positive for the coronavirus, an increase of 41.2% from the previous week.
UK Health Minister Sajid Javid said on Tuesday that vaccinations work despite an increase in infections.
“Although the numbers for both are increasing, the case-to-hospitalization ratio is the lowest it has ever been,” he said. “In other words: we are seeing a lot less people who test positive, like me, who need hospital treatment.”
Javid himself tested positive for the coronavirus last week after being vaccinated and is in self-isolation.
The UK lifted many of its remaining pandemic restrictions on Monday, including the reopening of nightclubs, despite concerns about the risks they pose.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I don’t want to have to shut down nightclubs anymore – as they have done elsewhere – but it means nightclubs have to do the socially responsible thing” and require proof of vaccination , a negative test result or natural immunity as a means of entry.
In Thailand, thirteen provinces are stepping up lockdown measures until at least August 2 to fight an increase in cases there. That didn’t stop the island of Phuket from reopening to vaccinated foreign visitors, under strict rules, earlier this month.
The government claims to have vaccinated more than 70% of the island’s population before opening the “Phuket sandbox” in an attempt to revive tourism, a key driver of the Thai economy hit hard by the pandemic.