Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Sunday

The latest:

The number of incoming visitors to Canada has been gradually increasing in the days since travel restrictions began easing for fully vaccinated, eligible travellers — and the country’s border agents are expecting more this weekend.

The Canada Border Services Agency says incoming traffic last week increased about 25 per cent after quarantine rules were waived Monday for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents and others already allowed to cross the border.

But despite the agency’s best efforts to publicize the requirements, roughly half of the people seeking the exemption had to be turned away, said Denis Vinette, vice-president of the agency’s travellers branch.

“It’s a question, I think, of folks not understanding the rules,” Vinette said in an interview.

The Canadian border crossing is seen in Lacolle, Que. on Feb. 12. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Only Canadian citizens, permanent residents and eligible foreign nationals who have gone two weeks since a full course of one of the four COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca-Oxford or Johnson & Johnson — are exempt from quarantine.

Canada has exceptions in place for foreign nationals who are immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, as well as a process to allow extended family members and international students to apply for entry.

Of those who were denied the exemption last week, most had either had only one dose of a two-dose vaccine, had not waited the requisite 14 days after their last shot or had received a vaccine not cleared for use in Canada, Vinette said.

“The big thing for folks to understand is what qualifies as a fully exempted traveller under Canada’s definition,” Vinette said.

“It is about having had one of the four Health Canada vaccines. It’s about having had the full regimens, or both shots, and having had 14 days pass after your second shot.”

WATCH | PM says priority is to ease rules for vaccinated travellers:

Trudeau says he will proceed in an orderly fashion on border restrictions, focusing first on fully vaccinated travelers entering Canada before looking at what those who are not fully vaccinated will be able to do. 0:50

Travellers are also required to use the ArriveCAN app or online portal to submit their vaccine information and the results of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days before departure.

Air Canada and WestJet are also helping to promote the rules with signage in airports, and airport authorities and provincial public health agencies are also doing their part, Vinette said.

The agency is anxious to make sure people understand what has changed and what has not in order to prevent excessive delays or tie-ups at border control points, he added.

People are seen at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on June 9. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

He said the delays have not been extensive, except for at busy border crossings like Windsor-Detroit, Fort Erie, Ont., and the Pacific Highway crossing in B.C., where peak wait times were sometimes close to 45 minutes.

That could be changing this weekend.

“We ask people to be patient at the border if they find that there are long lineups and folks coming in for the weekend,” Vinette said.

“It’s our first test, if you will, especially in the land border environment.”

The ArriveCAN portal can be accessed either via the Apple or Android app or online via the federal government’s website at Travellers must use the latest version of the app, which was updated when the rules changed.

As for when the restrictions will be relaxed further, that remains an open question.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he has no intention of jeopardizing Canada’s recovery from the pandemic by prematurely opening the border. He said the next step would be easing the restrictions on fully vaccinated travellers who aren’t Canadian, but didn’t say when that might happen.

Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: or join us live in the comments now.

What’s happening across Canada

As of 3:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 1,420,531 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 5,300 considered active. National deaths stood at 26,436. More than 42 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country, according to CBC’s vaccine tracker.

In British Columbia, residents of long-term care facilities will be allowed to visit with friends and family members without restrictions, provided they are fully vaccinated, starting July 19.

In Alberta, public health officials have reported the province’s first two cases of the lambda variant. Both were travel-related.

Manitoba registered 63 new COVID-19 cases and an additional death on Sunday. The province has already passed the target for its second reopening phase, which had a target of getting 75 per cent of eligible residents with first doses and 50 per cent with both by Terry Fox Day on Aug. 2. New public health orders are expected to be announced sometime in the coming week that could ease restrictions.

WATCH | Fans react to return of live sports in Man.:

Valour FC fans return to the stands for the first time since COVID-19 restrictions paused live sporting events. 1:57

Saskatchewan removed all remaining public health restrictions on Sunday, including mandatory masking and limitations on gatherings.

Premier Scott Moe has said that the province will no longer look to control COVID-19 through government intervention or restrictions, but instead will rely on vaccines. 

About 71 per cent of the province’s residents aged 12 and over have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and just over half the eligible population is fully vaccinated.

Ontario reported 166 new cases and six new deaths on Sunday. It’s the lowest daily increase for the province since Sept. 9, 2020, when 149 cases were reported.

In Quebec, the provincial government’s proposal to implement a vaccine passport has raised privacy and discrimination concerns from experts. 

In the Atlantic region, New Brunswick recorded no new cases for the sixth straight day as the province reached a vaccination milestone of more than 50 per cent of residents having now been administered two doses; Prince Edward Island has reduced COVID-19 border testing and dropped its mask mandate; more than 80 per cent of eligible Newfoundland and Labrador residents have received at least one dose, and more than 28 per cent have received two doses; and Nova Scotia reported four new infections on Sunday.

In the North, Nunavut recorded no new cases.

What’s happening around the world

As of Sunday, more than 186.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the world, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than four million.

In Africa, new infections in South Africa have risen to record levels in recent days, a trend that mirrors a rapid rise across the continent. Experts say the surge there hasn’t yet peaked, and the government is rushing to vaccinate enough of its 60 million people to blunt the impact of the next surge.

WATCH | ‘Alarming’ increase in COVID-19 in some African countries, says WHO:

The coronavirus is surging again in some southern African countries as winter drives many people indoors, says Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 technical lead for the World Health Organization. 1:00

In Asia, authorities in Bangladesh say 230 people died of COVID-19 and 11,874 tested positive — the highest number of casualties and positive cases in a single day. The country has been under a nationwide lockdown since July 1, but new records of positive cases are being reported every day.

In Europe, Russia’s daily tally of confirmed coronavirus infections has exceeded 25,000 for the third day in a row. Officials blame a recent surge on the spread of the delta variant and are seeking to boost vaccine uptake, which has remained lower than in many Western countries.

In the Americas, Cuba is continuing its emergency vaccination program with the locally developed Abdala vaccine, authorized for emergency use by the country’s medical authorities on Friday, and the vaccine candidate Soberana-02. State regulators say Abdala is 92.28 per cent effective, while Soberana-02 — based on late-stage clinical trails — is 91.2 per cent.

Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: or join us live in the comments now.

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