Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says the federal authorities is contemplating additional limits on worldwide journey into Canada to forestall the introduction of recent COVID-19 instances as calls from opposition leaders for further pandemic measures develop louder.
“I very a lot perceive and I am very sympathetic to the view that, with the virus raging all over the world, we must be positive our borders are actually, actually safe,” Freeland stated in an interview on CBC’s Energy and Politics.
“And that is one thing that we’re engaged on actually urgently now.”
The feedback come a day after Overseas Affairs Minister Marc Garneau stated he would not rule out invoking the federal Emergencies Act to restrict journey. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated final week he’s open to tighter restrictions however instructed current measures are nonetheless efficient.
Freeland hinted throughout an earlier press convention that one of many choices on the desk is necessary lodge quarantines for air travellers who return from non-essential journeys overseas.
“We’re contemplating the problem very, very severely,” Freeland stated in French in response to a query a couple of quarantine rule.
The federal authorities presently requires all incoming travellers aged 5 and over to current a unfavorable COVID-19 check consequence from a check taken lower than 72 hours earlier than boarding.
They need to additionally quarantine for 14 days upon arrival (except they’re exempt as a result of they’re a necessary employee) however can achieve this at their very own properties. The necessary quarantine is enforced by public well being officers, who make hundreds of calls per day to confirm compliance, the federal government stated in a information launch final month.
Worldwide travellers who usually are not Canadian residents or everlasting residents are presently banned from coming into Canada, though there’s a lengthy record of exemptions that embrace important staff, seasonal staff, caregivers and worldwide college students.
Federal figures recommend that between two and 5 per cent of COVID-19 instances in Canada are linked to journey, however there’s nonetheless just about no testing on the border and plenty of current instances should not have an recognized supply.
Ford, Singh push for added measures
Ontario Premier Doug Ford stated he’s urging Trudeau to disclaim entry to Canada to anybody who isn’t a Canadian resident or citizen.
“There is not any purpose we’d like folks coming in,” Ford advised a press convention on Monday.
“Each time I search for on the sky I am considering, ‘What number of instances are coming in?’ This has to cease.”
Ford additionally referred to as for necessary testing for all travellers arriving by land and air.
A complete of 143 worldwide flights and 63 home flights with confirmed COVID-19 instances have touched down in Canada prior to now two weeks, in accordance with figures from the Public Well being Company of Canada.
NDP Chief Jagmeet Singh stated the federal authorities ought to take into account each necessary lodge quarantines and a full-on ban of non-essential worldwide journey.
“We have seen using quarantines — very agency and strict quarantines for travellers — work very successfully in different jurisdictions,” stated Singh. “I am open to related measures, implementing a strict quarantine of 14 days, ensuring that it occurs in a lodge or one other facility equally. However it’s agency and it is required and it is monitored.”
A lot of international locations which were profitable at minimizing neighborhood unfold of COVID-19 — together with South Korea, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand — have stricter quarantine regimes than Canada.
In New Zealand, which had simply 64 lively COVID-19 instances as of Monday, passengers head straight to a “managed isolation facility” — a lodge — in the event that they don’t have any signs, or to a “quarantine facility” in the event that they do.
In South Korea, new arrivals should self-isolate for 2 weeks at a government-designated facility at their very own expense. They’ll select to quarantine at house however should obtain a monitoring app to make sure compliance.
Necessary quarantine can scale back leisure journey, professional says
Karen Grépin, affiliate professor at Hong Kong College’s faculty of public well being, stated in an interview on CBC’s Information Community that two-week hotel-based quarantines can serve to cut back the quantity of non-essential journey by offering a disincentive for folks interested by travelling for leisure.
“I like them as a result of it means folks can nonetheless come and go if it’s worthwhile to, ” stated Grépin, who has studied journey restrictions all over the world through the pandemic. “I prefer it as a result of you do not have to foretell the place the danger is coming from as a result of it applies evenly to everybody.”
Grépin stated it is too late for Canada to forestall the introduction of recent coronavirus variants — together with one first recognized in South Africa and one other that emerged within the U.Ok. — nevertheless it might scale back the variety of instances of these variants.
WATCH | Lodge quarantine might assist discourage non-essential journey, public well being professor says
Conservative Chief Erin O’Toole stated he desires the federal authorities to seek the advice of opposition events earlier than further measures are introduced in. He accused the Liberal authorities of being too sluggish to restrict journey initially of the pandemic.
The federal authorities has not consulted with the airline business about extra stringent measures, stated Mike McNaney, head of the Nationwide Airways Council of Canada.
“There’s been no reach-out,” added Air Transat spokesperson Christophe Hennebelle.