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The Department of Homeland Security Extends Border Closures for Mexico and Canada

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has declared that the country’s land borders with Mexico and Canada will stay closed to non-essential travel for another month, just days after Canada signalled preparations to loosen travel restrictions from the US. The limits on entering the US by land or ferry will be in force until at least August 21, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, which has killed more than 609,000 people in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University data, the US limited non-essential entry into the country in March 2020, and has continued to close its borders with Mexico and Canada on a monthly basis since then. The Canadian government said on Monday that as of August 9, fully-vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to enter the nation without having to go through quarantine, citing increased inoculation rates and reduced infection rates in the country.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said, “A gradual approach to reopening will allow our health authorities to monitor the COVID-19 situation here and abroad. Canadians have worked hard and sacrificed for each other, and because of that work, we can take these next steps safely.”However, following Ottawa’s declaration, concerns were raised about whether the lifting of restrictions would be mutual. The White House is planning a new round of high-level talks to address the travel restrictions and the possibility of forcing COVID-19 vaccines, according to sources knowledgeable on the topic, but no decisions have been taken.

The White House formed interagency working groups with the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Mexico in early June to examine how to gradually ease restrictions. Mexico’s Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, announced last month that the country would increase its coronavirus vaccination efforts along the Mexican-US border in an effort to alleviate the limitations.

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