Ottawa plans to impose mandatory quarantine at the hotel at the expense of returning travelers, as suggested by the Quebec government of François Legault.
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“It is a possibility that we are looking at,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday, specifying that this is one option among others being studied.
He added that more details are to come in the coming days on possible “even stricter” measures to deter Canadians from taking non-essential travel despite the pandemic.
“When it comes to security, we are not ruling out any possibility,” said Trudeau after discussing the issue Thursday evening with his provincial and territorial counterparts.
Premier Legault wants Ottawa to ban international flights for non-essential travel, but believes that 14-day supervised hotel isolation for those returning home would be a good alternative. Such a measure is in force in New Zealand.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has given some clues as to the different avenues Ottawa is considering taking.
“We are looking at several measures which may include additional restrictions on international travel, additional measures for contact tracing, for quarantine,” he said on Friday.
He also mentioned that discussions are underway with the new US administration of Joe Biden to create “symmetry” in the controls that are exercised on both sides of the border.
New measures that are linked could therefore come.
President Biden already announced on Thursday that anyone arriving by plane into the United States from another country should get tested before leaving.
This is already the case for people returning to Canada. As of January 7, travelers must have a negative COVID-19 result on hand before taking their return flight.
The 14-day isolation has also been mandatory since the end of March under the Quarantine Act, which provides for heavy penalties for offenders.
However, many denounce a lack of follow-up to ensure that people who have returned to the country do indeed respect the rules.
To the knowledge of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), only 127 tickets had been given by the police as of January 13 and eight statements of offense punishable by summary conviction.
The agency said, however, that this data may be incomplete since “local police forces are not required to send information on law enforcement measures.”