Sun, 05 Dec 2021

OTTAWA, Canada: Canada will bar all professional athletes not vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the country's health minister.

Though Canada requires all foreign travelers entering the country to be vaccinated, until now professional and amateur athletes had been exempted.

"As of January 15th, there will no longer be an exemption in place for professional and amateur athletes," said said Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino.

The vaccination rules will need to be followed by teams in the NHL, NBA, Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball - all of which must compete against Canadian clubs.

Of note, 95 percent of NBA players have been vaccinated, according to the league. NHL officials said in October that only four of its hockey players were unvaccinated, while more than 95 percent of MLS soccer players have been inoculated.

Unvaccinated NBA players include Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets, Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando Magic, and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets, who has been barred from playing this season due to New York's vaccine mandate.

Also, as of November 30, Canadian-born players will no longer be exempt from being vaccinated.

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