Tue. Nov 24th, 2020

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COVID-19 tests: When to get tested before traveling for the holidays

COVID-19 cases are surging across the country. Here’s what to consider as you decide whether to get tested and travel this holiday season.

If you were hoping that the United States’ borders would reopen for holiday travel, don’t get your hopes up. 

The land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed through Dec. 21, Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced on Thursday.

“In order to continue to prevent the spread of COVID, the US, Mexico, & Canada will extend the restrictions on non-essential travel through Dec 21,” he wrote on Twitter. “We are working closely with Mexico & Canada to keep essential trade & travel open while also protecting our citizens from the virus.

Timeline: The world surpasses 20 million COVID-19 cases: A look at the milestones and setbacks

Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair, wrote on Twitter that border-closure decisions “will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe.”

Though these travel restrictions have been extended in monthly increments throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the borders are not expected to open anytime soon. The U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases of any country with more than 11 million, while Mexico and Canada have more than 1 million and 300,000, respectively.

“The pandemic seems to be escalating in both of our countries. That would seem to suggest that these measures are with us for a while,” Canadian ambassador to the U.S. Kirsten Hillman said Tuesday, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Both U.S. land borders were closed to all but essential traffic in mid-March after the coronavirus pandemic hit, with government officials announcing multiple extensions as case counts continued to rise, especially in the U.S. The previous extension, announced in mid-October, was due to expire Nov. 21. Despite the closure of land borders, U.S. citizens can still travel by air.

Canada has begun allowing extended family members who live in the U.S. to seek an exemption allowing them to travel north amid these restrictions, provided they follow that country’s COVID-19 requirements. Lawmakers have called on President Donald Trump to do the same on the U.S. side.

Travel: Immigrants, border families face difficulties amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

Contributing: Jayme Deerwester, David Oliver

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