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Canada should consider full travel ban as COVID variants spread says Conservative leader

Last Updated Apr 26, 2021 at 9:57 am PDT

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says Canada should consider temporarily barring all international travel

Comments follow Canada's 30-day travel ban on direct flights from Indian and Pakistan because of COVID-19 variants

NDP leader says he is open to a complete travel ban

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The federal Conservatives want even further travel restrictions in the hopes they allow Canada to get a handle on the spread of COVID-19 variants.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says Canada should consider shutting down all international travel temporarily, after previously saying the should country restrict travel from COVID-19 hotspot countries.

“The government needs to secure the border by stopping flights from all hotspot countries and in fact, perhaps all international travel temporarily until we can rectify and secure our border,” he said at a Monday morning press conference.

Last week, the federal government announced a 30-day ban on all direct flights from India and Pakistan, due to spiking daily COVID-19 cases and spreading variants, but O’Toole calls the move a half measure.

He does, however, agree with the feds it is important to send ventilators and personal protective equipment to countries in need.

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NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is not rejecting the idea of a complete travel ban.

“I’m open to whatever is in the best interest of Canadians and what will work to keep us safe,” he said. “And so if that includes some travel restrictions and or increased travel restrictions, I’m prepared to look at the evidence and then make a decision that supports what experts are calling for.”

Less than two per cent of COVID-19 cases in Canada have been confirmed to be linked to travel or contact with a traveller. The rest has been attributed to community transmission.

Last spring, the federal government barred all non-essential travel for non-citizens, however travel for essential purposes such as funerals, essential work, and family reunification are still allowed.

Driving across the Canada-U.S. border is also still restricted, however Canadians are able to fly back and forth.

All travellers have to abide by mandatory testing and quarantine rules, including a three-day quarantine hotel stay for those flying into the country.