Fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents will soon be exempt from having to quarantine in authorized hotels on return to Canada, the government announced on Wednesday.
Starting early next month, travellers who have received vaccine shots at least 14 days before reaching Canada will still have to take a COVID-19 test on arrival, and have to stay in isolation until the test comes back negative.
However the travellers will no longer be required to stay in government approved facilities.
“We’ll be watching carefully here in Canada and around the world as cases change and as vaccinations rates rise,” Health Minister Patty Hajdu said. “These metrics are very important factors.”
The government also said seven million doses of Moderna vaccine are slated to arrive this month, with initial shipments starting next week.
Procurement Minister Anita Anand said it will be the first time the deliveries will include doses from the company’s American supply chain. Details of specific shipment dates and quantities will come next week, she said.
Overall, Anand said Canada should have enough vaccine delivered for 80 per cent of eligible Canadians to be fully vaccinated by the end of July.
“Based on confirmed deliveries alone, Canada is set to receive at least 55 million doses by the end of July,” Anand said. “That is the minimum.”
Currently, close to 70 per cent of people in Canada have received a first vaccine dose, helping drive case counts lower.
Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer, said the seven-day average for new cases had fallen below 1,800 for the first time since the fall. Similarly, daily hospitalizations have fallen by about half and deaths have declined by about 40 per cent.
However, Tam warned those who have received only one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to remain wary, especially with circulation of the Delta variant.
“One dose of protection is not enough,” Tam said.
Tam also said she was looking at ensuring Canada gets close to 75 per cent of eligible people fully vaccinated before she would consider advising border restrictions be loosened for tourists and business travellers who aren’t Canadians or permanent residents.