Closing some of the U.S.-Canada frontiers on land could aid in battling the
In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the attention paid to travel precautions is mainly focused on flights. This is a good thing, as it could lead to the possibility of using “vaccine passports” to open new borders internationally. But for countries with vast borders on land, there are particular issues.
Canada, as well as Canada and the United States, share the world’s longest land border undefended. Although Canada is the U.S. is Canada’s most important trading partner, it’s also the most important source of coronavirus diseases and deaths.
COVID-19 variants that are of concern are currently prevalent in the entire U.S. States. The widespread spread of these variants within the U.S. points to the necessity for Canada to examine the effectiveness of risk management for public health at the point of entry into land.
A CBC report on COVID-19 tests at border crossings on land.
Current policy on land borders
Since March 21, 2020, non-essential travel is now restricted at Canada-U.S. crossings on land. Outbound travel is delayed for Canadian permanent residents and nationals, and outbound and inbound journeys for foreign nationals (except those bound for Alaska U.S. citizens) are not allowed.
On January 29, 2021 on January 29, 2021, the Canadian administration announced new regulations for travel that are not essential in response to the various threats. Travelers arriving by air are now subject to the requirement to test and quarantine hotels as well, and those coming on land also have provisions for testing; however, they are able to self-quarantine and isolate themselves.
In light of the fact that many thousands of important and non-essential tourists continue to enter Canada by land each month, the differences in the policy of both land and air travel have been raised.
According to the Public Safety Minister of Canada, Bill Blair, the main reason for this is the logistics. With 117 two-way land crossings, similar methods ” simply aren’t possible, given the existing infrastructure that’s available.”
As a group of pandemic and travel health experts, we can find solutions for this impossible problem.
Fewer border crossings on land
There are not enough resources to offer screening tests, quarantine, and screening for all land crossings that are equivalent to air-based arrivals. In light of our analysis of measures related to travel during COVID-19, One option is to reduce the number of open border crossings drastically. This is similar to channeling of air traffic through four airports. This has proven to be a very successful method in other countries.
After closing certain crossings over land, The government may select specific hubs to allow non-essential travel. This will prevent bottlenecks from affecting important travel. Since around seven percent of crossings on land during the outbreak are considered not essential, and the number of people who travel by land has decreased by 90 percent in the course of the pandemic, temporary closure of some borders is also a sensible option.
The only crossings that remain open to passengers who aren’t essential to use should be those that have greater vehicle traffic prior to the outbreak, like the Peace Arch, B.C., along with Rainbow Bridge, Ont. Crossings with high traffic volumes already have the essential roadways inbound and outbound to facilitate access. They usually also have hotels within proximity. This may allow the extension of quarantine requirements on designated areas for those who are crossing the border via land. The crossings must also have to be located at a fair distance from hospitals should there be a need for medical attention. The border crossings would require sufficient staff to meet any improvements implemented to testing procedures.