Toronto, Ontario Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is warning Canadians to expect more travel restrictions in the near future.
At his briefing Tuesday, Trudeau reiterated federal public health guidance to avoid all non-essential travel, both abroad and in between provinces.
Trudeau said in French that the constantly evolving news of COVID-19 variants from other countries has spurred the government to look at improving the measures already implemented – and that an announcement would come very soon.
The prime minister also reiterated his previous statements on upcoming travel, telling Canadians to cancel any plans they may have booked, and that while the number of cases linked to traveling abroad are low, “one case is too many.”
Trudeau said the “bad choices of a few” should not be allowed to put others at risk.
Currently, the land border between Canada and the U.S. remains closed to travellers, while international travellers flying into the country must show a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before their departure flight. They then must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Violations of any of these measures can result in charges under the Quarantine Act, with a maximum sentence of six months in jail or fines up to $75,000.
Last week, Quebec Premier Francois Legault called for Ottawa to implement an outright ban on non-essential travel – and as Trudeau said at his Tuesday briefing, “all options are on the table if necessary.”
The Public Health Agency of Canada has reported more than 200 flights, both international and domestic, that have confirmed COVID-19 cases, as well as one VIA Rail train trip.
Overall, travel outside Canada has been deemed the primary cause of 1.4 per cent of COVID-19 cases in Canada since the start of the pandemic, with contact with a traveller accounting for another one per cent of infections.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford called on the federal government Tuesday to implement mandatory COVID-19 testing and a temporary ban on direct flights from countries where new strains of coronavirus have been found.
The request for more stringent travel measures was echoed by Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, who announced Tuesday that the province is amending its public health orders to introduce a 14-day self-isolation period for anyone travelling into Manitoba from other parts of Canada.
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