ACTA to Feds: Don't Re-instate Travel Restrictions Even if COVID Cases Rise this Fall/Winter

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ACTA urges the federal government to refrain from re-introducing travel restrictions even if case numbers rise this fall / winter as expected.  The organization is citing a 23SEP report by leading infectious disease and emergency medicine physicians that concluded border measures were "ineffective" at stopping the spread of COVID.

Wendy Paradis, President, ACTA, says the trade supports dropping all travel restrictions regarding COVID, emphasizing how those measures devastated travel and tourism businesses. It was one of the hardest hit sectors with 41 per cent of jobs lost and nearly 1,000 businesses closed.

Despite Ottawa's lifting of all travel restrictions on 26SEP, she said "there remains deep fear that new and ineffective measures will be re-introduced during the fall and winter respiratory illness seasons."

Paradis went on to say that only through government-industry cooperation and science-based policy can travel recover.

The report, Evaluating Canada’s Pandemic Border and Travel Policies: Lessons Learned, is an in-depth review by leading experts about the efficacy of mandatory arrival and departure testing, quarantines, travel advisories and other border restrictions. It found that the measures "did not materially reduce the spread of Variants of Concern across Canada."

The report concluded that there there is no scientific basis to apply stricter health measures to travel and tourism than to other industries.

It also criticized masking requirements for being "inconsistent from a public policy perspective" and noted that air travel is among the safest modes of travel in terms of risk of transmission with high air exchange rates. It also said that it raises the question of the benefit of mask mandates targeting the travel sector, especially when they aren’t being applied in society and by other countries.

Instead, the authors of the report suggest that other measures, such as community wastewater testing, are more accessible surveillance mechanisms to identify variants without inconveniencing travellers and making additional work for the travel industry.

Click here to access the full report.

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