Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed on Friday (Feb. 12) that Canada’s enhanced travel restrictions - notably a mandatory hotel quarantine for international arrivals - will begin on Feb. 22.
“With the presence of new [COVID-19] variants, stricter measures are needed,” Trudeau, speaking in French, told reporters in Ottawa.
There will be an exception made for essential travellers, such as truck drivers and health care workers, Trudeau said.
“We will look at making necessary exceptions on a case-by-case basis,” Trudeau explained. “Our goal is not to punish people [but] discourage non-essential travel.”
Under the new policy, international air travellers will need to take a COVID-19 (PCR) test and, at their own expense, pay for a three-day stay at a government-approved hotel.
Trudeau announced last month that this could cost upwards of $2,000. However, the Prime Minister did not elaborate on this point at his press conference on Friday.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, Procurement Minister Anita Anand, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc and Health Minister Patty Hajdu shared more details at a press conference on Friday afternoon.
Click here for more details on the restrictions, which now includes a mandatory PCR test on day ten of the 14-day quarantine.
These measures will be in addition to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for non-essential travellers returning from abroad.
Under the new order, travellers with negative test results will be able to exit their hotel quarantine, after 72 hours, and spend the remaining mandatory two weeks at home.
People with positive tests will be required to quarantine in a designated government facility.
“Every decision we’re taking is based on the best possible evidence,” Trudeau told journalists.
For some time now already, air travellers that have arrived at the border without a quarantine plan have been directed to a quarantine hotel, Trudeau noted.
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister announced that travellers entering Canada via the U.S. land border will need to provide proof of a negative 72-hour PCR test before arrival. It is not yet confirmed if travellers entering by land will need to isolate in a hotel.
Failure to present a test at the land border could lead to fines of up to $3,000 per person, Trudeau said.
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