Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the government will introduce mandatory testing at airports for returning people.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced More Strict restrictions on travelers in response to new, possibly more contagious variations of the novel coronavirus – including the requirement for travelers to self-quarantine in a hotel at their own expense when arriving in Canada and the suspension of air service to Mexico and all Caribbean destinations until April 30.
Trudeau said on Friday that in addition to the pre-boarding test that Canada already requires, the government will introduce mandatory PCR testing at the airport for people returning to Canada.
“Travelers will then have to wait up to three days at an approved hotel for their test results, at their own expense, which is expected to be over $ 2,000,” Trudeau said.
“Those with negative test results will then be able to quarantine themselves in their homes under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement.”
The high cost of hotel stay includes the cost of a private PCR test, safety, food, and the cost of the steps designated hotels will need to take to keep their workers safe.
The prime minister said those who test positive will immediately be required to quarantine at designated government facilities to ensure they do not carry variants of particular concern.
Trudeau also said the government and major Canadian airlines have agreed to immediately suspend service to certain destinations. He said Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat are canceling air service to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico from Sunday until April 30.
“They will make arrangements with their clients who are currently traveling in these areas to organize their return flights,” Trudeau said.
He said that starting next week, all international passenger flights are due to land at the following four airports: Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal.
“We will also require, in the coming weeks, that non-essential travelers test negative before entering the land border with the United States, and we are working to meet additional testing requirements for ground travel. ”Trudeau said.
Canada is already requiring those entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days and present a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of arrival.
Requiring a hotel stay on return would discourage vacations as people would not want to have to quarantine themselves in a hotel at their own expense upon return.
“It’s excellent. It’s a shame it’s so late. It’s something they could have done a long time ago,” said Dr Andrew Morris, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto and Medical Director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Sinai-University Health Network.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
More and more governments are thinking about ways to be more aggressive due to new variants, delays in vaccines, challenges related to vaccination of the population and strains on health systems.
Trudeau also announced that there will be a delay in part of the next Moderna vaccine shipment, which will arrive next week. He said Canada would receive 78 percent of the expected amount, or 180,000 doses.