Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has announced a travel ban on flights from Mexico and the Caribbean to prevent the spread of the new Coronavirus variants.
Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat, the country’s airlines, have agreed to halt their flights to the favorite winter destinations until April 30.
Last week, Trudeau already warned Canadian citizens about further restrictions so they could safely come back home from their vacation. Following this announcement, Air Canada and WestJet immediately organized return flights for those who could not make it before the restriction took place.
Many Canadians have made holiday plans for this winter. The newly imposed measures should not only discourage journeys to Mexico and the Caribbean but all non-essential travel in general.
All international flights will be allowed to land only in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto from next week.
Passengers must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before departure.
Besides, from now on, all incomers also have to undergo another Coronavirus PCR test upon arrival. Then, they have to quarantine at a government-designated hotel at their own expense while waiting for the results.
Arrivals normally spend up to three days at those places. The cost is set up at a CA $2,000 per 3 nights according to the Prime Minister.
Travelers who test negative can spend the rest of the two-week quarantine period at home. The ones whose results come back positive must quarantine at a government-approved facility to lower the risk of spreading the new more contagious Coronavirus strains.
Entering the country is permitted only to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
While the border between Canada and the U.S. remains closed until February 21, essential workers might still enter the country without the need to complete the two-week quarantine.
However, Trudeau stated that only two percent of the current Coronavirus cases come from international travel.
Inter-provincial travel is permitted except for Atlantic Provinces and Arctic territories. Nonetheless, healthcare workers are advised to avoid inland travel.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canada has reported over 770,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 20,000 deaths. There are 55,313 active cases at the moment.
Compared to the beginning of the year, the number of cases seems to drop. There have been 4,770 new daily cases on average in the past seven days.
The country has also started the COVID-19 vaccination program, with priority given to the elderly, healthcare workers, nursing home residents, and their staff. Adults in Indigenous communities are also included in their priority list.
Canada was one of the first countries in the world to approve Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Only over 900,000 Coronavirus vaccines have been administered to this point.
So far, around 150,000 people have been fully vaccinated in Canada.