TORONTO: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced stricter restrictions on travelers in response to new, likely more contagious variants of the novel coronavirus — including making it mandatory for travellers to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense when they arrive in Canada and suspending airline service to Mexico and all Caribbean destinations until April 30.
Trudeau said in addition to the pre-boarding test Canada already requires, the government will be introducing mandatory PCR testing at the airport for people returning to Canada, foreign media reported on Saturday. “Travellers will then have to wait for up to three days at an approved hotel for their test results, at their own expense, which is expected to be 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 said the measure will be take effect “in the coming weeks.”
The steep cost for the hotel stay includes the cost for a private PCR test, security, food and the cost of measures the designated hotels will have to take to keep their workers safe.
“The cost is a ballparking. This isn’t like any other facility. This is one where there has to be infection prevention control measures, security and other costs as well. It’s not just a regular stay at a hotel,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.
Tam also said a test will be required on the 10th day after people return.
The prime minister said those with positive tests will be immediately required to quarantine in designated government facilities to make sure they’re not carrying variants of particular concern.
Trudeau also said the government and Canada’s main airlines have agreed to suspend service to sun destinations right away. He said Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat are cancelling air service to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico starting Sunday until April 30.
“They will be making arrangements with their customers who are currently on a trip in these regions to organise their return flights,” Trudeau said.