Report: NBA memo warns unvaccinated players about cross-border travel

The NBA logo in shown on a basketball court in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., in this Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, file photo (Ashley Landis/AP).

Unvaccinated NBA players with temporary visa status who leave the country will be unable to re-enter the United States, according to a league memo obtained by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday.

Additionally, teams will need to provide a list of unvaccinated players to league offices by Friday.

The league has said 97 per cent of players are vaccinated, while sources have told ESPN that 60 per cent have received booster shots.

This news follows an announcement made by the Government of Canada on Nov. 19, detailing that the country would be closing its border to unvaccinated amateur and professional athletes beginning Jan. 15.

As the league's only Canadian franchise, the Toronto Raptors have a fully vaccinated roster and travelling party.

Beginning Dec. 17, NBA players who have not received a booster COVID-19 dose will be subject to game day testing, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported last week. Team personnel who have yet to receive their booster shot by Dec. 17 will no longer be permitted to interact with players, travel with the team or continue participating with Tier 1 clearance.

The NBA has raised the level of urgency regarding getting booster shots against the coronavirus, telling players and coaches it is no longer advisable to wait before receiving the additional dose.

With positivity rates rising in many areas of the country, and with the rate of COVID-19 community transmission in most NBA markets considered by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to be "high" or "substantial," the league and union felt the additional urgency is now warranted. The NBA has seen an increased positivity rate among vaccinated players, team staff and family members of late, which is consistent with the trends in many places around the nation.

Editor's note: With overwhelming consistency, research has shown vaccinations against COVID-19 are safe and effective. Residents of Canada who are looking to learn more about vaccines, or the country's pandemic response, can find up-to-date information on Canada's public health website.

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