Canada has extended through at least 21MAY the mandatory hotel quarantine for international air travellers, the suspension on sun flights, as well as restrictions for non-essential travellers at the U.S. land-border.
“Once again, I want to be very clear. This it not the time to travel. All travellers returning to the country by land or air will continue to be subject to rigorous measures to ensure the safety of others. e are extending by one month, until May 21, the enhanced measures currently in place,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a press conference Tuesday.
“I would also like to thank Air Canada and WestJet for their decision to extend the voluntary suspension of flights to sunshine destinations until the end of May.”
Data obtained by Reuters shows that some 1,000 passengers, or 1.5% of those who arrived in Canada from 22FEB to 25MAR, tested positive for COVID-19. Trudeau acknowledged the low rate of infection caused by travel, but noted restrictions are still needed to ensure Canadians’ safety.
“Our strict travel, testing and quarantine measures are extremely important, which is why we are keeping them in place,” he told media. “But with international travel directly accounting for less than 2% of all cases in Canada, this is just one tool to fight the pandemic. This is why we are continuing to secure as many vaccines as soon as possible, supporting provinces and territories on healthcare and extending programs like the wage subsidy.”
The Canada-U.S. land-border restrictions were first imposed in MAR 2020. The announcement to extend restrictions past the previously set 21APR date was made by Canada’s Public Safety minister Bill Blair via Twitter.
“As cases rise and variants of concern continue to emerge across the country, we will continue to do what it takes-for as long as it takes-to keep Canadians safe. Restrictions on non-US international travel into Canada have been extended until May 21st, 2021,” Blair wrote.
All non-essential travellers to Canada have been required to quarantine for 14 days since the start of the pandemic in MAR 2020. On 22FEB, Canada began testing travellers arriving by air at the airport and requiring them to pay for a three-day quarantine in a government-approved hotel. Air travellers are also are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test within three days of their flight to Canada. If the airport test comes back negative, they can finish a 14-day quarantine at home.
Canada continues to lag the United States on vaccinations, and much of the country is now fighting a virulent third wave of the disease with school and business closures.