Wow: Canada Introduces Mandatory Hotel Quarantine
As reported by CBC, Canada has just taken its travel restrictions to the next level, though in a rather unconventional way.
Canada adds mandatory hotel quarantine for travel
With Canada’s current restrictions on international travel, those returning to Canada:
- Have to get a PCR test before boarding their flight
- Have to self-quarantine for 14 days
Now Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the introduction of a mandatory hotel quarantine upon returning to Canada, in addition to existing restrictions:
- Travelers will be tested when they return to Canada
- All international flights will have to land in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver
- Travelers will then have to wait up to three days at an approved hotel for their test results
- Travelers will then still have to self-quarantine for 14 days, with “increased surveillance”
- Trudeau says that this is expected to cost more than 2,000 CAD per traveler, which the traveler will have to pay, and this will be implemented “as soon as possible”
While several other countries that take coronavirus seriously require quarantining in a facility, Canada’s approach is different. Rather than requiring a 14 day quarantine, Canada is only requiring a three day quarantine.
It seems like this is intended to simply squash international travel, rather than necessarily having much logic:
- The price tag for three days of quarantine seems extremely high
- A three day quarantine isn’t a long enough period to catch all coronavirus cases, since the incubation period is often longer than that
- It seems that the three day quarantine is to allow time for results from testing on arrival to be processed, though it’s not entirely clear why it takes so long
My major concern here is that this creates a great rush for people to return to Canada before the new restrictions kick in. Given the new strains of coronavirus, is it smart to cause an influx of people returning to Canada?
Travelers returning to Canada will have to quarantine in a hotel
Canadian airlines cancel Caribbean & Mexico flights
Not only is Canada adding the above restrictions for international travelers, but effective immediately, Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat, have “agreed to suspend service” to the Caribbean and Mexico. Airlines will be working with customers to organize flights home, though it remains to be seen how that will work.
It’s not entirely clear whether travel to these areas is actually banned, or if direct flights by Canadian airlines are simply being canceled to discourage such travel.
WestJet will no longer fly to the Caribbean & Mexico
Canada is taking some drastic measures to restrict international travel. In addition to the current pre-travel testing requirement and 14 day self-quarantine, the country will also require testing upon arrival, and a hotel quarantine of up to three days, which could cost 2,000 CAD.
Furthermore, Canadian airlines have agreed to cancel flights to the Caribbean and Mexico. It’s not entirely clear if travel for Canadians to these destinations is restricted altogether, or if flights are simply being banned.
I’m not sure this strategy is terribly cohesive, but I imagine this will cause people to reconsider just about any discretionary international travel, which is probably the goal.
What do you make of Canada’s new international restrictions?