Canada Government urges Canadians abroad to return home while ‘commercial options still available’

As the COVID-19 global crisis deepens, countries around the world on Saturday continued to close borders, impose border restrictions, quarantine requirements and restrict large gatherings to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Canadian government has escalated its advice to Canadians on Saturday calling Canadians abroad to return home while they are still able to do so.  Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne tweeted the new recommendation on Saturday, a step up from previous advice, which told Canadians to cancel or postpone all non-essential travel outside of the country.

On its official global travel advisory [https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories], the federal government warns that “Airlines have cancelled flights. New restrictions may be imposed with little warning. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted and you may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected.” 

“Find out what commercial options are still available to return to Canada. Consider returning to Canada earlier than planned if these options are becoming more limited.”

Some Canadians abroad already are feeling the effects of travel restrictions being tightening and scrambling to book flights ahead of looming border closures in many European Union countries. Travellers have tweeted that they are waiting on hold for hours as they try to reach travel agents and airlines to rebook their flights while others say there are very limited or no outbound flights. Some Canadians say they have to pay thousands of dollars to book or change flights so they can get home as soon as possible.

Ontario remains at the epicentre of the national outbreak with 24 new COVID-19 cases reported by the Province on Saturday, bringing the total of the province including recoveries to 103. New cases were confirmed elsewhere in the country, and the official national number of cases tally to 248. 

On Saturday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health also ordered long-term care homes to put restrictions to essential visitors only, in an effort to prevent outbreaks amongst the most vulnerable residents at these homes.

COVID-19 Cases in Canada

The number of coronavirus cases in each province as of March 14, 9:30 p.m. E.T.

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 1
  • New Brunswick: 2
  • Quebec: 24
  • Ontario: 103
  • Manitoba: 4
  • Saskatchewan: 2
  • Alberta: 39
  • British Columbia: 73

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