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PCR COVID test to be eliminated for crossing U.S.-Canada border

Nancy Pelosi and Justin Trudeau
Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi )left) welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

Travel across the U.S.-Canadian border may be further eased as early as Thursday. That's from Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) after a meeting Wednesday between members of Congress and a group of Canadian officials led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The prime minister is in Washington, DC for the what is being called the Three Amigos Summit, with President Biden and Mexican President Andres Lopez Obrador. The big issue for the Northern Border is the expensive and time-consuming requirement for a PCR COVID-19 test for Americans or Canadians to enter Canada.

Higgins said Trudeau confirmed that's about to change.

"Elimination of the 72-hour testing requirement, first for Canadians upon re-entry into Canada after having visited the United States. Secondly, for U.S. citizens. And then, finally, for others beyond Canadian or U.S. citizens," Higgins said.

Current Canadian rules expire on Sunday.

It's all part of easing the relatively rigid border controls going back to early last year in the pandemic.

Higgins said he reminded Trudeau of the tightly interlinked economies of the two countries, especially with the Canadian economic engine of the Province of Ontario and how dependent the two nations are on each other, from sports teams to ski areas to cultural institutions.

He also reminded Trudeau that the border was reopened due to those who got vaccinated.

"The vaccine is very powerful against severe illness and against the spread of COVID and those people that did the right thing need to be rewarded, need to be recognized for what it is they were told would be the game-changer in this 20-month period of COVID," he said.

While in Washington, Trudeau participated in an hour-long panel discussion of U.S.-Canadian issues at the Wilson Center. You can watch it here.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.