When and if another pandemic happens, Canada and the United States should find a way to coordinate a plan for managing the risks at their shared land border instead of shutting it down completely, as was done during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report says.
According to members of a task force assembled by the D.C.-based Wilson Center, the two countries should develop a strategy for mitigating risks rather than try and reduce it to zero.
Shutting down the land border to non-essential travel in March 2020 likely did as much harm as good, members of the committee said on Friday (Oct. 29), the Canadian Press reports.
The task force includes former Quebec premier Jean Charest, former Canadian justice minister Anne McLellan, former Washington governor Christine Gregoire and former governor of Vermont James Douglas.
“A lot of people personally suffered through this period…there was a very high cost on a personal level that can’t be measured, but it was real,” Charest said at a virtual launch of the report last week.
“If only for that reason, we believe governments would be well-advised to look at more of a risk management approach.”
The 19-month-long pandemic shutdown on the U.S. side of the Canada-U.S. land border will end on Nov. 8 when America will open both its land and air border to fully vaccinated foreign national travellers.
Air travellers must show proof of vaccination and proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken at least three days before departure.
There will be no testing requirement for Canadians entering the U.S. by land (only proof of vaccination will be needed).
On Aug. 9, Canada reopened its land borders to American travellers for the first time in nearly 17 months.
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