Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says the federal government is “looking seriously” at tougher travel measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including mandatory hotel quarantines for air travellers returning from non-essential trips abroad.
Freeland’s remarks build on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s leaving the door open earlier this month to tighter restrictions, sparking questions about how a stricter isolation regime would roll out relative to other countries.
Successful pandemic repellers from South Korea to Australia and New Zealand require 14-day hotel quarantines for passengers arriving from abroad.
Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease physician at St. Joseph’s hospital in Hamilton, says the move would deter leisure travel, and could include scheduled testing that allows guests who come up negative to go home earlier.
Federal data suggests only a small fraction of COVID-19 cases are linked to travel, but there is still virtually no testing at the border and many recent cases do not have an identified source.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the government should consider mandatory hotel quarantines as well as outright bans on non-essential international travel, which Quebec Premier Francois Legault has also called for.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021.