Today’s coronavirus news: France hopes Canada will return the favour and reopen its borders to the French; Mask-wearing will be required on London’s transport network –

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By Star staff and wire services

Wed., July 14, 20213 min. read

Article was updated 17 mins ago

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Wednesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

6:16 a.m.: France, which has opened its borders to Canadian tourists, is eager to see Canada reopen to the French.

The Canadian border remains closed to foreigners, with a few exceptions, and will be until at least July 21. Ottawa has extended the closure, month after month, since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

At the French embassy in Ottawa Tuesday the representative of President Emmanuel Macron’s government argued the Canadian border should be reopened to the French as soon as possible.

“The borders will have to be reopened relatively quickly now for us to put Canada back on our travel plans,” Ambassador Kareen Rispal said. “If not, it’s true that French ministers will go to the countries where they can go.”

Otherwise, the relationship between the two countries will suffer, she warned.

“The consequence of the border closure is that there are no more visits,” Rispal said. “There are no more ministers. There are no more parliamentarians. There are no more manufacturing visits. There are no more visits by artists … relationships need to be worked on every day, to nourish them.”

France permits Canadians who can prove they are fully vaccinated, or who submit a recent negative COVID-19 test and who attest to not having COVID-19 symptoms, to enter its territory.

“We are a green country,” she said, referring to the colour system used by France to designate countries where the novel coronavirus is under control.

“Canada is a green country. We would be very happy if the French could return to Canada without constraints other than being doubly vaccinated, taking tests, etc. We aren’t asking to return to Canada in a haphazard way.”

Rispal said she will be watching what the Canadian government does on July 21.

6:15 a.m.: A year after pandemic precautions all but halted work to raise the world’s most endangered cranes for release into the wild, the efforts are back in gear.

Fourteen long-legged, fuzzy brown whooping crane chicks — one more than in 2019 — are following their parents or costumed surrogates in facilities from New Orleans to Calgary, Canada.

“We are thrilled to have bounced back in the wake of the pandemic,” said Richard Dunn, assistant curator of the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center in New Orleans.

Adult whooping cranes are white with black wingtips and red caps, and at 5 feet high are the tallest birds in North America. Only about 800 exist, all descendants of about 15 that survived hunters and habitat loss in a flock that migrates between Texas and Alberta, Canada.

Last year, zoos and other places where the endangered birds are bred had to cut staff and reduce or eliminate use of artificial insemination, which requires close work by two or three people, and of having people in shape-disguising costumes raise chicks.



Wednesday 6:13 a.m.: Mask-wearing will be required on London’s transport network even after the legal obligation to wear them in England is lifted on July 19, the city’s mayor said Wednesday.

Sadiq Khan has asked the body that oversees transport in the capital to enforce the use of mask wearing on the subway, buses and trams as a “condition of carriage” — basically contracts between passengers and Transport for London.

Khan said he is “not prepared” to put transport users “at risk” by removing the rules on face coverings after legal restrictions are lifted next Monday despite a big resurgence of the virus across the U.K. as a whole.

Under the new approach outlined by Khan, enforcement officers would be able to deny access or eject passengers not wearing a mask while using the subway, buses and trams. London’s Metropolitan Police and British Transport Police won’t be able to get involved, though, as mask-wearing will no longer be required by law.

“What would have been far better is for the national rules to apply across the country, not just in London but across the country,” he told the BBC. “That would have provided clarity in relation to what the rules are.”

Read Tuesday’s coronavirus news.