Canada announces new travel restrictions in face of pandemic

By: Vincenzo Morello

Travelers returning to Canada will have to quarantine in hotels at their own expense in accordance with new measures announced today to discourage Canadians from travelling during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

At a news conference on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said travelers arriving in Canada will have to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test at the airport and quarantine for three days in a hotel at their own expense until they get a result. Trudeau said that he expected it to cost over $2,000.

If the person tests negative for the virus, they will be allowed to go home. They must then quarantine for two weeks under increased surveillance. If a person that tests positive, they must quarantine at a designated government facility to make sure they are not carrying any variants of concern.

Trudueau also announced that Air Canada, Sunwing, WestJet, and Air Transat will suspend air service to Mexico and Carribean destinations starting on Sunday. The suspensions will last until April 30.Trudeau added that the airline companies will be making arrangements with customers who are currently in those destinations to organize flights home. “With the challenges we currently face with COVID-19, both here at home and abroad, we all agree that now is just not the time to be flying,” Trudeau said.

“By putting in place these tough measures now, we can look forward to a better time when we can all plan those vacations.” Trudeau said that starting next week all international flights will only be allowed to land in four airports; Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Toronto. In the coming weeks, Canada will also require non-essential travelers to show a negative test before entering at the land border with the United States.

Earlier this week, Trudeau said that the new pandemic measures for travel were going to be introduced soon and that Canadians should cancel any of their travel plans. Since March, Canada has banned any non-essential travel into the country by anyone who is not a citizen or resident.

The Canadian government had already introduced measures that require Canadians returning from abroad to quarantine for two weeks, and since Jan. 7 most people are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before returning.  According to data from Health Canada, as of Jan. 28, Canada has had a total of 766,103 cases of COVID-19, including 57,020 active cases, and 19,664 deaths. A total of 689, 419 people have recovered.