OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Canada is stepping up measures for anyone coming into the country from abroad, as concerns grow over COVID-19 variants around the globe.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that, in the coming weeks, all travellers coming to Canada will have to take a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival.
As passengers await their results, they’ll have to quarantine at government-approved hotels for up to three days at their own expense. That is expected to cost more than $2,000, Trudeau said.
“Those with negative test results will then be able to quarantine at home under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement,” he explained, adding those with positive tests will be “immediately required to quarantine in designated-government facilities to make sure they’re not carrying variants of potential concern.”
Projections have shown that the variant first identified in the U.K. will be the dominant strain of COVID-19 in parts of Canada by March.
“We’ve seen public health monitoring that shows what happens if these variants do take hold in Canada. We saw that one travel case resulted in many, many cases of the U.K. variant,” Trudeau said.
BREAKING NEWS: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced all Canadian travellers returning from overseas will have to take a COVID-19 PCR test at the airport, and quarantine in a designated hotel for three days at their own expense while they await results. @NEWS1130
— Amanda Wawryk (@AmandaWawryk) January 29, 2021
Flight cancellations for Caribbean, Mexico
Meanwhile, Trudeau announced the government and Canada’s major airlines have agreed to suspend service to some sun destinations temporarily.
“Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat are cancelling air service to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico starting this Sunday up until April 30th,” Trudeau said.
He noted these airlines would be working with customers currently travelling in these regions to book return flights.
“Our government is committed to the safe restart and recovery of the Canadian travel and tourism sector as soon as conditions improve, ideally later this year. As part of this effort, the Government of Canada has committed to work with the major airlines on the future relationship between testing and quarantine requirements. This will enable the safe, gradual return to international air travel grounded in science and evidence.”
Related article: Canada’s airlines want feds to consult with industry before any additional travel restrictions
On top of flight cancellations, beginning next week, all international flights will only be allowed to land at four airports; those in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Calgary.
Negative test at Canada-U.S. land border
Currently, anyone coming into the country must show proof of a negative PCR test before they even get on a plane. Once they arrive in Canada, travellers are required to self-isolate for two weeks at home.
In addition to the measures announced Friday, Trudeau said all non-essential travellers will also have to show proof of a negative PCR test at the Canada-U.S. land border.
“And we’re working to stand up additional testing requirements for land travel,” the prime minister added.