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Feds announce flight restrictions, cruise ship ban amid COVID-19 outbreak

Last Updated Mar 13, 2020 at 10:56 am PDT

FILE (iStock Photo)

Ottawa has announced new restrictions as it works to try and stop the spread of COVID-19

Flight restrictions will mean aircraft flying into Canada from overseas will be limited to a smaller number of airports

Cruise ships carrying more than 500 people will be banned from docking at Canadian ports until July

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The federal government says overseas international flights entering Canada will be restricted to a smaller number of airports amid the pandemic.

It’s unclear which airports will be on the list.

“We believe that this is a precaution that we should take so that we concentrate overseas international passengers coming into Canada to a smaller number of airports,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said.

In addition, Ottawa says any cruise ship with more than 500 passengers will not be allowed to dock at any Canadian port. This ban will be in effect until July 1.

Garneau explained if the situation has not improved by June 30, the federal government will review the ban and whether the cruise ship season will be able to resume in Canada.

“In the case of cruise ship that are smaller — and that includes ferries, by the way — we will be putting in place a series of additional health measures to ensure that those that will be the smaller ships and on these ferries, that the precautions that need to be taken for their health will be taken,” he told reporters Friday.

The new measures come as more cases of COVID-19 pop up in Canada. To date, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 150 people in this country. Meanwhile, Canada’s top doctor has advised Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside the country in an effort to minimize the spread of the virus.

“We know this has been a very challenging time,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said on Friday. “We believe Canada is in a strong position because we are a nation where collaboration and cooperation from the public is so apparent.”

On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opted to self-isolate after his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, started to show flu-like symptoms. She has since tested positive for COVID-19, but her symptoms are mild and she is doing well, according to the prime minister.

Trudeau has not shown any symptoms, and the Prime Minister’s Office has said he will not be tested for the virus unless that changes.

In the event that he does fall ill, Trudeau said he would continue to work from home. He added there have always been contingency plans in place if a minister or prime minister is unable to work.

The number of people infected worldwide has almost hit 125,000.

For all the latest on the COVID-19 situation, click here.