Canada Announces New Quarantine Restrictions, Suspends Flights to Mexico, Caribbean
In response to the new COVID-19 variant circulating around the world, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday a host of new quarantine regulations for those entering Canada.
Expanding on the country's existing testing requirement, which mandates that travelers test negative for COVID-19 three days before their arrival or return to Canada, travelers will now be required to test again upon arrival at the airport.
They will then have to quarantine in an approved hotel for up to three days — at their own expense — while awaiting their test results, the Associated Press reported. Trudeau mentioned that expenses may add up to more than $2,000 CAD, which will cover the PCR test, security, food, and measures to keep hotel employees safe.
Residents who test negative will then be able to finish quarantine at home "under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement," Trudeau said. Anyone who tests positive will have to quarantine a government facility.
Canada already requires travelers to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Furthermore, Canada's main airlines, including Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat, will suspend flights to the Caribbean and Mexico from Sunday until April 30. Additionally, all flights must land at Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, or Montreal airports.
"[The airlines] will be making arrangements with their customers who are currently on a trip in these regions to organize their return flights," Trudeau said of the flight cancellations.
The prime minister also mentioned the possibility of new testing requirements for those traveling through the U.S.-Canada land border, which is currently closed to certain travelers until Feb. 21.
"We will also, in the coming weeks, be requiring nonessential travelers to show a negative test before entry at the land border with the U.S., and we are working to stand up additional testing requirements for land travel," Trudeau said.
New variants of COVID-19 — said to be more contagious — have emerged in the U.K., Brazil, and South Africa, and a few cases have since made their way to the United States.