Canada Government, Provinces Agree COVID-19 Vaccine Travel Passport – Officials | World News


OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s federal government and the 10 provinces have agreed on a standard COVID-19 electronic vaccination passport allowing domestic and foreign travel, government officials told reporters on Thursday.

The deal prevents possible confusion that could be caused if each of the provinces – which have primary responsibility for health care – issued their own unique certificates. The officials spoke on the condition they not be identified.

The document will have a federal Canadian identifying mark and meets major international smart health card standards.

“Many (countries) have said they want to see a digital … verifiable proof of vaccination, which is what we’re delivering,” said one official.

In addition, federal officials are talking to nations that are popular with Canadian travelers to brief them about the document.

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The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced earlier this month that from Oct 30, people wishing to travel domestically by plane, train or ship would have to show proof of full vaccination.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Alistair Bell)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.



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P.E.I. Health officials advise Islanders to avoid non-essential travel


Islanders are being advised to avoid travel outside the province unless it is necessary.

“Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Atlantic Canada and across the country, Island residents should carefully consider travel outside of P.E.I. at this time,” Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said in a news release. “Now is not the time for non-essential travel.

“To protect ourselves and our community it is extremely important to get vaccinated against COVID-19, to be tested if you are experiencing even mild symptoms, and to keep your circle of contacts small.” 

There will also be increased testing at entry points for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers from other Atlantic provinces, the news release said. 

Testing for N.B. travellers

Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick, travellers who have spent more than 48 hours in the province will be tested three times within eight days upon entry to P.E.I.

“Anyone who has been in N.B. for more than 48 hours will be asked to be tested at entry points and again on day four and day eight,” the news release said.

“Anyone who has traveled to N.B. for less than 48 hours will be asked to be tested upon return on day four and day eight.”

The Charlottetown drop-in testing clinic at 64 Park St. is extending its hours until 4 p.m. Saturday. 

Prince Edward Island has 39 active cases of COVID-19 and has had 293 positive cases since the pandemic began.

As of Sept. 22, 251,706 doses of vaccine had been administered in the province. More than 93 per cent of the eligible population has received at least one dose of vaccine and close to 86 per cent has received two doses. 

Everyone is encouraged to follow routine prevention measures:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
  • Get vaccinated.
  • Wear a non-medical mask in indoor places.
  • Stay home if you are not feeling well.
  • Limit touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Keep your circle of contacts small.
  • Physical distance – stay two metres apart.
  • Don’t share items like drinking glasses and water bottles.
  • Frequently clean surfaces like taps, doorknobs and countertops.
  • Visit a drop-in-clinic to be tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms.



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Las Vegas officials cheer news about easing of international travel rules


The U.S. on Monday announced plans to ease international airline travel restrictions to allow vaccinated foreign nationals to once again travel to the country starting this fall.

The new policy, slated to go into effect in early November, will require travelers to show proof that they are fully vaccinated before boarding a U.S.-bound plane as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of the flight, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said.

Testing requirements also will tighten for unvaccinated Americans, who will now be required to be tested within a day of their trip to the U.S. and again after returning.

For Southern Nevada, the changes signal the return of one of the key cogs that has been missing amid the recovery of the region’s tourism-reliant economy.

‘Welcome news’

The news was met with cheers by tourism and travel officials.

“Today marks an important turning point in the recovery of international visitation essential to Las Vegas’ tourism industry. This milestone is also significant and welcome news for many of our major tradeshows and conventions that draw exhibitors and attendees from around the world,” Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority CEO Steve Hill said in a statement.

Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resort Association, called the move an “essential step for Las Vegas’ recovery to continue moving forward.”

“Las Vegas attracted nearly six million international visitors in 2019, which supported tens of thousands of jobs and generated billions of dollars for our local economy. The lack of this key business has had a substantial economic impact on our community over the past 18 months,” Valentine said in a statement.

Roger Dow, CEO and president of the U.S. Travel Association, said getting the international travelers back is “huge,” in large part because they tend to stay longer and spend more than their domestic counterparts.

“When you look at CES and all the monster conventions that come here (to Las Vegas), if they can’t have the international buyer here, we lose,” said Dow, who’s in town for the travel association’s annual conference.

When those international flights will return remains up in the air. Some of the logistics are still not clear, including which vaccines will be acceptable under the U.S.’s system and whether those unapproved in the U.S., such as AstraZeneca, would be acceptable. Zients said that decision would be up to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will also require airlines to collect contact information from all U.S- bound travelers to facilitate tracing efforts.

The U.S. has been one of the slowest countries to lift international travel restrictions, frustrating allies in the United Kingdom and European Union as well as tourism and travel officials.

The EU and UK had previously moved to allow vaccinated U.S. travelers in without quarantines, in an effort to boost business and tourism. But the EU recommended last month that some travel restrictions be reimposed on U.S. travelers to the bloc because of the rampant spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus in America.

In May, Rosemary Vassiliadis, McCarran International Airport’s director of aviation, testified before a Senate subcommittee and pushed for the federal government to find ways to restore international travel to the U.S., saying that the country’s “blanket approach is unnecessarily crippling our economic productivity.”

At McCarran, domestic air travel has started to look more like it did pre-pandemic. International travel, however, has continued to lag.

International traveler volume for for first seven months of 2021 is down nearly 90 percent compared with the same period in 2019, with international carriers accounting or just 246,054 passengers at McCarran during that time, compared nearly 2.2 million in 2019.

“For Las Vegas, so much of our travel is dependent on people coming in for tourism reasons,” Chris Jones, chief marketing office for McCarran International Airport, said.

“In terms of domestic air, we are back to where we were,” Jones added. “International [travel] has been a huge missing component.”

Jones said the return of those international flights will vary by market and by airline. Some airlines plan their international schedules in six-month segments, which could mean that some carriers may not bring those flights back until sometime in the spring, he added.

Jones said that officials from McCarran and the LVCVA will be in Milan for a conference next month to meet with air carriers.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Richard N. Velotta and The Associated Press contributed to this report.





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Officials maintain there should be no mandatory vaccination requirement for domestic travel in the United States


DETROIT – There are many measures in airports and on airplanes meant to keep travelers safe from coronavirus.

David Fishman with Cadillac Travel said he wouldn’t be surprised if airlines make even more safety changes soon. Fishman said requiring vaccines could create lots of confusion unless it’s adopted by the entire airline industry.

“U.S. travel has long maintained that there should be no mandatory vaccination requirement for domestic travel. Such a policy would have an unfair, negative impact on families with young children who are not yet eligible to get the vaccine,” a spokesperson for the U.S. travel industry said.

In Miami, there are tests underway for a new program for dogs to sniff out COVID. Trained dogs are being used to identify airline employees who are positive for COVID.

If it proves successful, other highly trained dogs may be brought into terminals.

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Official’s son caught breaching lockdown rules granted suppression


The names of the high-ranking public official’s son and his partner who allegedly breached Covid-19 lockdown rules by flying to a Wānaka holiday home will remain secret, for now.

The 35-year-old man and the 26-year-old woman crossed the Auckland alert level 4 border using essential worker exemptions on Thursday, police said.

Do you know more? Email reporters@press.co.nz

They then drove to Hamilton Airport where they caught a commercial flight to Queenstown, via Wellington, rented a vehicle and drove to a holiday home in Wānaka.

In a statement on Monday afternoon, police said they were tipped off about the alleged breach by a member of the public who made a report using the online Covid-19 “compliance” tool.

READ MORE:
* Covid-19: Charge proven of breaching lockdown order after incident with saliva at workplace
* Coronavirus: Over 30,000 court cases adjourned in level 4 lockdown
* Coronavirus: District courts taking extra Covid-19 safety precautions for Alert Level 3

Officers found the pair in Wānaka on Saturday afternoon.

They have since returned to Auckland. It’s unclear how.

One of the man’s parents is a high-ranking public official.

The man referred questions to his lawyer, Auckland barrister Rachael Reed QC, when contacted by Stuff on Monday morning.

Reed said her client had no comment to make in relation to the allegations.

During an urgent hearing on Monday evening, a district court judge granted interim suppression of the couple’s names, and the name and occupation of the public official.

The order was put in place to allow Reed to make an application to the High Court for suppression orders of a longer duration.

Police visited the Wānaka holiday home several times at the weekend, a neighbour said.

A part-owner of the property, which is worth more than $1 million, told Stuff he was unaware of the suspected breach.

“Jeepers mate, you’ve knocked my socks off,” the man said after being told of the allegations.

He said he was “absolutely appalled”, calling the couple’s actions “self-entitled behaviour”.

A nearby resident said they were “disgusted” to learn what had happened.

It was a quiet neighbourhood and the houses were close together. He was concerned the couple had been out and about in Wānaka.

“Everyone’s playing by the rules and there’s a possibility the South Island could have gone to level 1, but with something like this you think well…”

Queenstown mayor Jim Boult said he wanted a judge to “throw the book” at the couple, and that he couldn’t believe people could be that stupid.

“They risked the health and wellbeing of the whole country.”

Boult said public health officials had told him the risk was low that the couple had exposed Wānaka residents to Covid-19.

At a press conference on Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern didn’t have more detail about the incident, saying she preferred to leave it to the police to respond.

A man and his partner allegedly breached lockdown rules when they left Auckland and flew to Wānaka.

Iain McGregor/Stuff

A man and his partner allegedly breached lockdown rules when they left Auckland and flew to Wānaka.

Generally, she said everyone needed to play their part to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“The rules are not there to be gamed,” Ardern said.

“Aucklanders would take a very dim view of other Aucklanders who aren’t doing their bit, because they have for a long time and very diligently.”

Police said they would prosecute the man and his partner for breaching a government Covid-19 health order when they failed to return to their place of residence within the alert level 4 area after leaving for approved essential personal movement.

They would be summonsed to appear in court this week, police said.

Boult said it was not the first instance of a person flouting rules in the region, with a 41-year-old businessman also in trouble for flying from Auckland to Queenstown on September 1 without an exemption.

“People just need to think beyond themselves before they make these decisions.”

On Monday police said they had caught a few people near Auckland checkpoints who had flouted alert level 4 rules.

On Sunday two men, aged 36 and 52, tried to drive across the city’s southern border.

The men produced travel exemptions, but were questioned further when officers smelt cannabis coming from their vehicle.

They were both in possession of more than 2 kilograms of the drug. Neither was driving south for essential purposes, police said.

The pair were charged with possession of cannabis for supply and failing to comply with the Covid-19 health order.



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High-ranking official’s son caught breaching lockdown rules after tip-off


A high-ranking official’s son who allegedly breached Covid-19 lockdown rules by flying to a Wānaka holiday home was caught after a tip-off from the public.

The 35-year-old and his partner, a 26-year-old woman, crossed the Auckland alert level 4 border using essential worker exemptions on Thursday, police said.

Do you know more? Email reporters@press.co.nz

They then drove to Hamilton Airport before catching a commercial flight to Queenstown via Wellington, where they rented a vehicle and drove to a holiday home in Wānaka.

In a statement on Monday afternoon, police said the alleged breach was reported to them by someone using the online Covid-19 “compliance” tool.

READ MORE:
* Covid-19: Charge proven of breaching lockdown order after incident with saliva at workplace
* Coronavirus: Over 30,000 court cases adjourned in level 4 lockdown
* Coronavirus: District courts taking extra Covid-19 safety precautions for Alert Level 3

Officers found the pair in Wānaka on Saturday afternoon.

They have since returned to Auckland.

One of the man’s parents is a high-ranking public official.

He referred questions to his lawyer, Auckland barrister Rachael Reed QC, when contacted by Stuff on Monday morning.

Reed said her client had no comment to make in relation to the allegations.

She said she was preparing an application for suppression, which would include details of the man’s parent’s occupation.

Police visited the Wānaka holiday home several times at the weekend, a neighbour said.

A part-owner of the property, which is worth more than $1 million, told Stuff he was unaware of the suspected breach.

“Jeepers mate, you’ve knocked my socks off,” the man said after being told of the allegations.

He said he was “absolutely appalled”, calling the couple’s actions “self-entitled behaviour”.

A nearby resident said they were “disgusted” to learn what had happened.

It was a quiet neighbourhood and the houses were close together. He was concerned the couple had been out and about in Wānaka.

“Everyone’s playing by the rules and there’s a possibility the South Island could have gone to level 1 but with something like this you think well…”

Queenstown mayor Jim Boult said he wanted a judge to “throw the book” at the couple, and that he couldn’t believe people could be that stupid.

“They risked the health and wellbeing of the whole country.”

Boult said public health officials had told him the risk was low that the couple had exposed Wānaka residents to Covid-19.

At a press conference on Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern didn’t have any more detail about the incident, saying she preferred to leave it to the police to respond.

A man and his partner allegedly breached lockdown rules when they left Auckland and flew to Wānaka.

Iain McGregor/Stuff

A man and his partner allegedly breached lockdown rules when they left Auckland and flew to Wānaka.

Generally, she said everyone needed to play their part to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“The rules are not there to be gamed,” Ardern said.

“Aucklanders would take a very dim view of other Aucklanders who aren’t doing their bit because they have for a long time and very diligently.”

Police said they would prosecute the man and his partner for breaching a government Covid-19 health order when they failed to return to their place of residence within the alert level 4 area after leaving for approved essential personal movement.

They would be summonsed to appear in court this week, police said.

Boult said it was not the only instance of a person flouting the rules in the region, with a 41-year-old businessman also in trouble for flying from Auckland to Queenstown on September 1 without an exemption.

“People just need to think beyond themselves before they make these decisions.”

On Monday police said they had caught a few people near checkpoints who had flouted alert level 4 rules.

On Sunday two men, aged 36 and 52, tried to drive across Auckland’s southern border.

The men produced travel exemptions, but were questioned further when officers smelt cannabis coming from their vehicle.

They were both in possession of more than 2 kilograms of the drug. Neither was driving south for essential purposes, police said.

The pair were charged with possession of cannabis for supply and failing to comply with the Covid-19 health order.



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Guinea coup leader bars foreign travel for government officials | Politics News


Leader of army unit that overthrew President Alpha Conde tells government ministers there will be ‘no witch hunt’, a day after coup in West African nation.

Guinean government officials are barred from leaving the country until further notice and a curfew imposed in mining areas has been lifted, the leader of an army unit that overthrew President Alpha Conde has said.

On Monday Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya – a former French legionnaire officer – told a gathering of Conde’s ministers, including the prime minister and top government officials, that they should also hand back their official vehicles.

“There will be no witch-hunt,” he said a day after the coup which drew international condemnation and threats of sanctions.

The takeover in the West African nation that holds the world’s largest bauxite reserves, an ore used to produce aluminium, sent prices of the metal sky-rocketing to a 10-year high on Monday over fears of further supply disruption in the downstream market. There was no indication of such disruption yet.

Light traffic resumed, and some shops reopened around the main administrative district of Kaloum in the capital, Conakry which witnessed heavy gunfire throughout Sunday as the special forces battled soldiers loyal to Conde. A military spokesman said on television that land air borders had also been reopened.

However, uncertainty remains. While the army unit appeared to have Conde in detention, telling the West African nation on state television that they had dissolved the government and constitution, other branches of the army are yet to publicly comment.

Doumbouya said on state television on Sunday that “poverty and endemic corruption” had driven his forces to remove Conde from office.

‘Window for change is very short’

Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque, reporting from Dakar in neighbouring Senegal, called Monday’s meeting an “incredible scene” as the country’s powerful figures were brought inside the national parliament to be summoned by the new leader.

“What’s interesting in this scene is that he was there to both reassure them and threaten them,” Haque said.

“On the one hand, he said… ‘No one’s going to go after you, but we will take your vehicles, your passports, so that you do not run away from the country. The borders are open. The airport is not closed,’ trying to reassure both the international actors who have been condemning this coup but also trying to reassure the Guinean population.

“He calls for a national unity government but he hasn’t given any timeline to when he’s going do that and what framework that’s gonna operate.”

Emmanuel Kwesi Aning of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre told Al Jazeera the coup leaders in Guinea have a short window to enact any change.

“The window for change to take place is very short. The demographics of Guinea and the Sahel and West African states are such that people are losing patience. The military regime have no more than 6-12 months – that is if they will have that length of time – to govern, to demonstrate.

“The optimism with which Conde was voted into power in 2010 has totally fizzled out,” Aning said.

The coup has met condemnation from some of Guinea’s strongest allies. The United Nations quickly denounced the takeover, and both the African Union and West Africa’s regional bloc have threatened sanctions.

In an overnight statement, the US Department of State said that violence and extra-constitutional measures could erode Guinea’s prospects for stability and prosperity.

“These actions could limit the ability of the United States and Guinea’s other international partners to support the country,” the statement said.

Regional experts said, however, that unlike in landlocked Mali, where neighbours and partners were able to pressure the military government after a coup, leverage on the military in Guinea could be limited because it is not landlocked, also because it is not a member of the West African currency union.

Although mineral wealth has fuelled economic growth during Conde’s reign, few citizens significantly benefitting, contributing to pent-up frustration among millions of jobless youths.





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Health officials concerned holiday travel could cause spike in COVID-19 cases


COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Health officials are concerned Labor Day travel could cause another spike in COVID-19 cases, especially among the unvaccinated population.

This comes as the start of the school year has brought an uptick in cases among children who are not vaccinated.

Dr. Nancy Tofil, the Director of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care at the UAB & Children’s of Alabama said the Delta variant is hitting the unvaccinated population hard.

“Most are either unvaccinated or under the age of 12 and unable to get vaccinated,” Tofil said. “The numbers have been three or four times what we were seeing last winter at its peak.”

The CDC is warning people who are traveling to take caution during the holiday and has a warning to the unvaccinated population.

“If you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

According to the CDC, the U.S. has averaged over 150,000 cases a day for the past week. This is an increase of nearly 5% compared to the previous week.

CDC COVID-19 Daily Case Data – Sept. 6, 2021

The Missouri State Dashboard reports the state averaging over 1,500 cases a day for the past seven days of data available. This data set is from Aug. 27 – Sept. 2.

The state has seen 38 COVID-19 deaths during this time period.

The State Vaccine Dashboard has seen an uptick in vaccine orders within the past month. The most recent Aug. 30 vaccine order was for 65,900 vaccines. The order was up over 40 thousand vaccines from the July 26 order of 20,560 vaccines.

According the the dashboard, 52.2% of Missourians have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. Nearly 40% of kids between the ages of 12-17 have gotten vaccinated and 63.3% of adults are vaccinated.



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U.S. Officials Urge Unvaccinated Travelers to Avoid Trips to Canada




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Lollapalooza mandated vaccines or a negative Covid test. Officials say there’s no sign it was a superspreader event


“There’s no evidence at this point of a superspreader event, and there’s no evidence of substantial impact to Chicago’s Covid epidemiology,” Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said at a news conference.

Among several hundred thousand festivalgoers, officials have identified only 203 cases of Covid-19 about two weeks after the festival, according to Arwady. Of those, 58 are Chicago residents. Another 138 are Illinois residents and seven are from other states.

“We would have seen a surge if we were going to see a surge at this point, by my estimation,” she said.

Amid climbing Covid-19 cases across the country, there were concerns Chicago’s famed four-day music festival could contribute to a rise in infections when it kicked off late last month, even with the variety of mitigation strategies organizers put in place, including required proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid-19 test.

Officials believe 90% of attendees were vaccinated, Arwady said, though she said the health department has used a figure of 88%, calling that a “conservative estimate.”

Among vaccinated attendees, there were 127 diagnosed with Covid-19, Arwady said. That’s just 0.04%, or four in 10,000 vaccinated attendees.

“Among unvaccinated attendees we did, as expected, see a higher rate of Covid cases, but it was still low,” she said. There were 76 unvaccinated attendees who reported testing positive, Arwady said — 0.16% or 16 in 10,000 unvaccinated attendees.

“And as of yesterday we had no hospitalizations or deaths reported,” she said, though officials are continuing to check.

Prior to the festival’s start, event organizers announced they would require proof of full vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result from the last 72 hours to enter. And the Chicago Department of Public Health had a list of states and territories added to the city’s travel advisory, recommending that unvaccinated people coming from those states obtain a negative test 72 hours prior to their arrival in Chicago or quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival.

Arwady said she anticipated about 200 cases before the start of the festival, adding, “Clearly, with hundreds of thousands of people attending Lollapalooza, we would expect to see some cases.”

Of those who tested positive, 71% were not Chicago residents, she said, and 79% were under the age of 30. Arwady said 17% also reported their presence in other high risk locations where they could have been potentially exposed, like visiting bars and traveling from out of state.

Any person diagnosed with Covid-19 during or after attending Lollapalooza is included in this analysis, Arwady noted, so the transmissions may or may not have been from the festival itself.

Additionally, health officials conducted a survey of attendees, which found younger attendees were more likely to say that attending the festival was “an incentive for them to be vaccinated,” Arwady said. The survey also asked if whether the requirement that attendees show proof of vaccination or a negative test made attendees feel safer: 76% said yes, 11% said no and 13% said it didn’t matter, Arwady told reporters.

Officials are glad to see other music festivals following suit, she added, pointing to Milwaukee’s Summerfest and Bonnaroo in Tennessee, which have announced they will require proof of vaccination or a negative test within the last 72 hours.

“(We) felt strongly that if we were pulling folks together, this needed to be part of the event,” Arwady said of the requirements. “I think having some additional data, knowing that it is driving vaccination rates for younger people, and that generally it does make people feel — at least some people — more likely to attend, I think is helping to drive what I think is a best practice in this space.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded to the news on Twitter, writing, “In Chicago, we can be open AND be careful,” though the acknowledged officials are still tracking cases connected to the festival.

“Hat tip to all of our Lolla and city partners for prioritizing COVID safety,” Lightfoot said.

Correction: A previous version of this story used incorrect percentages for the number of vaccinated and unvaccinated attendees who since reported testing positive. Those percentages should be 0.04% and 0.16%, respectively.

CNN’s Carma Hassan and Omar Jimenez contributed to this report.





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