Countries are responding to the threat of new variants of Covid-19 in different ways, but many are introducing the idea of mandatory quarantine in government-designated hotels to ensure that restrictions are met.
Canada is the latest to do so, with prime minister Justin Trudeau announcing Friday that all arrivals into the country would be affected.
Speaking outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Friday, Trudeau announced that starting next week, all international passenger flights must land at the following four airports: Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal.
Mandatory PCR testing (using a nasal swab) will be introduced at these four Canadian airports for people returning to Canada–this is in addition to the pre-boarding tests that travelers are required to take before they can fly.
Trudeau said, “travelers will then have to wait for up to three days at an approved hotel for their test results, at their own expense, which is expected to be more than $2,000 (US$1,500).”
The government believes this will discourage people from traveling or taking a holiday when they know they must pay for a hotel stay in quarantine upon their return.
Trudeau added (quoted in The Guardian) that “those with negative test results will then be able to quarantine at home under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement.”
Dr Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer said that the high cost was due to the fact that these facilities had to provide prevention control measures, food, security and PCR testing. She also added that returning passengers had to also take another PCR test ten days after arrival.
Trudeau is also reinforcing measures at Canada’s land borders. “We will also, in the coming weeks,” Trudeau said, “be requiring nonessential travelers to show a negative test before entry at the land border with the US, and we are working to stand up additional testing requirements for land travel.”
The government said that all main carriers have agreed to suspend flights to Mexico and Caribbean destinations until 30 April.