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Canada unveils strict new travel measures

Canada unveils strict new travel measures
/ WIN-Initiative / Stone / Getty Images

Canada is implanting strict new measures for anyone coming into the country from abroad, as concerns grow over COVID-19 variants spreading around the globe.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that, in the coming weeks, all travellers coming to Canada will have to take a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival and as passengers wait for their results, they’ll be forced to quarantine at government-approved hotels for up to three days at their own expense. 

“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.”

Trudeau also announced that the federal government is officially implementing a ban on travel to sun destinations until April 30, 2021.

“Canada’s main airlines have agreed to suspend service to sun destinations right away,” Trudeau said. “Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat are cancelling service to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico starting this Sunday, up until April 30. They will be making arrangements with their customers who are currently on a trip in these regions to organize their return flights".

Here’s a summary of the travel restrictions announced today, via The Canadian Press:

Flights

As of Jan. 31 and until April 30, the government and Canada’s airlines have agreed to suspend all flights to and from Mexico and Caribbean countries.

As of Feb. 3, all commercial international flights can only land at four airports: Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport. This includes flights arriving from the United States, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America, which had previously been exempted from rules of this kind.

Tests

Air travellers who decide to travel for non-essential reasons will have to take a COVID-19 test on arrival, in addition to existing rules around pre-departure testing.

A 72-hour pre-arrival testing requirement for travellers seeking entry at the land border will also be introduced, with limited exceptions such as commercial truckers.

Quarantine

While they await the results of the test, they’ll have to stay at a government-approved hotel at their own cost for three nights while awaiting their results.

The government has hired security officers who will check on people supposed to be in quarantine to ensure they are complying.

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