OTTAWA - Canada will ramp up its fight against COVID-19 by obliging citizens returning home from the United States by land to show a negative COVID-19 test, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday.
Everyone one arriving in Canada by air already has to prove they took a negative test within the previous 72 hours and this measure is being expanded to land crossings, starting on Feb 15, Trudeau said.
Although non-essential travel between the two nations is banned, many Canadians have second homes in the United States, and Ottawa is obliged to allow them to return if they wish.
"We're using every tool in the toolbox to get us all through this crisis," said Trudeau, who also promised the supply of vaccines from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc would ramp up next week.
Trudeau's Liberal government has been attacked by critics over the slow pace of vaccinations, caused in part by a temporary reduction in supplies from Pfizer.
Separately, officials said Canada would allow a sixth dose to be taken from each vial of Pfizer's vaccine rather than the originally intended five.
Supriya Sharma, a senior advisor at the ministry, told a news briefing that six doses could be extracted provided a special syringe was used, mirroring moves taken by the United States and some European nations.
Major-General Dany Fortin, who is helping lead the inoculation campaign, said the pace of deliveries should start to pick up next week.
Pfizer and Moderna have continued to assure Ottawa they would meet their commitments to deliver a total of 6 million doses by the end of March, he told the briefing. (Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Edmund Blair Editing by Marguerita Choy)