Canada’s major airlines have agreed to suspend service to the Caribbean and Mexico and the federal government introduces new mandatory quarantine rules as it seeks to discourage international travel.
This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat have agreed to discontinue service to certain solar destinations immediately and will arrange with their customers who are in these regions now to organize flights home.
“With the challenges we are currently facing with COVID-19, both here at home and abroad, we all agree that now is just not the time to fly,” says Trudeau outside his home at Rideau Cottage.
The Prime Minister said as soon as possible that the government will introduce mandatory PCR testing at the airport for people returning to Canada, on top of the already required pre-boarding test.
Travelers will then have to wait up to three days at an approved hotel for their test results, at their own expense, which Trudeau said is expected to be more than $ 2,000.
Those with a negative test will then be able to end their 14-day quarantine at home, with increased monitoring.
“By introducing these tough measures now, we can look forward to a better time when we can plan these vacations,” Trudeau said.
The move is not without precedent. Australia has demanded that most travelers quarantine a government hotel for 14 days for $ 2,800 per adult and $ 4,620 for a family of four.
The UK introduced similar measures on Thursday and now requires citizens coming from dozens of high-risk countries to quarantine in hotels for 10 days at their own expense.
Canada has had a ban on non-essential travel to the country by anyone who is not a citizen or permanent resident since March, but banning the flow of Canadians in and out of the country is a more difficult task.
People returning from abroad for non-essential reasons must be quarantined for two weeks or risk substantial financial penalties or imprisonment – a measure that has also been in place since March.
Starting earlier this month, most travelers must also show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before arriving in Canada.
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