Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is warning Canadians to expect more travel restrictions in the near future.
Trudeau said that the constantly evolving news of COVID-19 variants from other countries has spurred the government to look at improving the measures already implemented – and that an announcement would come very soon.
The prime minister also reiterated his previous statements on upcoming travel, telling Canadians to cancel any plans they may have booked, and that while the number of cases linked to travelling abroad is low, “one case is too many.”
Trudeau said the “bad choices of a few” should not be allowed to put others at risk.
Currently, the land border between Canada and the U.S. remains closed to travellers, while international travellers flying into the country must show a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before their departure flight. They then must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Violations of any of these measures can result in charges under the Quarantine Act, with a maximum sentence of six months in jail or fines up to $75,000.
Last week, Quebec Premier Francois Legault urged Ottawa to implement an outright ban on non-essential travel or to mandate a 14-day stay in a hotel upon arrival in Canada – and as Trudeau said at his Tuesday briefing, “all options are on the table if necessary.”
The Public Health Agency of Canada reports more than 200 flights, both international and domestic, confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection, as well as a VIA Rail train.
Overall, tourism outside of Canada is considered the main cause of 1.4% of COVID-19 cases in Canada since the beginning of the pandemic. Tourist contact accounts for 1% of all infections.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford also called on the federal government to implement mandatory COVID-19 testing and a temporary ban on direct flights from countries where new strains of coronavirus have been found.
Ford announced while providing an update on a pilot project at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport that has so far detected 146 positive cases of COVID-19 out of 6,580 tests. Four of those positives have been screened as the potential U.K. variant and will undergo further investigation.
Manitoba State Premier Brian Pallister has put in place a request for stricter travel measures. He announced that the province is revising its public health orders to impose a 14-day self-quarantine period for anyone travelling to Manitoba from other parts of Canada.
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