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Quarantine exemptions causing confusion for Canadians traveling home

Last Updated May 18, 2021 at 5:28 pm PDT

EDMONTON (CityNews) – Traveling back to Canada after having COVID-19 can be a long and painful task for Canadians.

Adyson King, 19, spent the past five months working as a nanny in Zanzibar.

While overseas, around 40 days ago, she contracted COVID-19 and is recovering with no issues.

On Monday, King flew home to Canada after testing negative before getting on her flight, something most airlines require before boarding.

She landed Monday at the Calgary airport, only to find out that an exemption to hotel quarantining, put in place by the Canadian government, isn’t being honored as advertised.

“I downloaded the ArriveCAN app and researched the requirements. I found out that there was an exemption rule for if you tested positive for COVID in the past 14 to 90 days,” explained King.

“I had my proof of positive COVID test, and I thought it would go smoothly.”

A government of Canada website says air travelers are exempt from forced confinement in hotels if they have recently recovered from COVID-19. Since King had the virus 40 days ago, according to the federal government’s own rule, she thought she qualified.

However, due to King having to take a test just before she boarded, in order to fly. Testing negative threw her into a bureaucratic loophole.

“The confusion and miscommunication is frustrating.”

“They told me since I tested negative since my positive test, that I’m not exempt from the hotel. But that doesn’t make sense,” she explained.

King was told if she left the airport and didn’t go to the hotel that there would be consequences.

Worried and confused, King complied and was taken to a quarantine hotel.

“They told me I could leave but that I could be fined $750,000, 6 months in prison and get put on the no-fly list.”

King says it was clear that provincial officers, federal border security and others working at the airport were confused about the rule too.

“It needs to be rethought out so that no one else has to go through that when they land thinking they can go home and they can’t.”

King stayed in the hotel Monday night and received another negative COVID-19 test Tuesday afternoon. After just one night, AHS told her she is now free to leave and quarantine at home.

CityNews reached out to the Health Agency of Canada, and were told a statement would be provided at a later time.

King says her and her member of parliament are working together to change this rule.