US CDC warns against travel to Canada amid rising Covid numbers
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned against travel to Canada as Covid-19 cases surge across the country and rampant infections threaten to once again overwhelm fragile healthcare systems.
The CDC on Monday elevated its travel recommendation to “level four: very high” for Canada, telling Americans they should avoid travel to its northern neighbour. The CDC currently lists about 80 destinations worldwide at level four.
Canada has long been a popular destinations for Americans but for most of the pandemic, the border between the two countries was closed to all non-essential travel. In November, fully vaccinated travellers were once again permitted to move freely to Canada and Mexico, ending the unprecedented closure.
The Canadian government did not immediately comment Monday on the CDC’s warning.
Last month, Canada’s government implored residents not to leave the country for non-essential travel.
Despite a high vaccination rate in Canada and masking requirements in major cities, the recently discovered Omicron variant has nonetheless strained provincial healthcare systems across the country. Hospital and ICU admissions have surged over the last week in Ontario, the most populous province.
Testing positivity rates have hovered around 30%, suggesting the virus is far more widespread than the daily tally of cases suggests. In neighbouring Quebec, hospitals are struggling with a shortage of beds and more than 20,000 healthcare workers are off the job due to infection.
“We are not only seeing an increase in the number of patients in our hospitals, but we are also seeing that we are losing even more staff every day,” said Christian Dubé, the Quebec health minister, last week, warning the province had not yet reached the peak of infections.
Canada, which has 422,017 active cases, also set a record for hospitalizations after the weekly average jumped to 5,259 – the highest of the pandemic.
Covid hospitalizations in the US reached a fresh high of 132,646, according to a Reuters tally on Monday, surpassing the record of 132,051 set in January last year.