Ontario calls for mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers at land borders

Alonzo Simpson
May 1, 2021

According to the province, some worldwide travellers are booking flights to American airports near the Canadian border.

Ford vowed not to "let this issue go because too much is at stake".

In his opening remarks at his COVID-19 briefing today, Trudeau noted the travel restrictions already in place for land border crossings at the Canada-U.S. border, from the 72-hour PCR test before crossing at the border, to PCR testing after crossing the border, to the 14-day quarantine.

Justin Trudeau says Ontario is the only province to make this request.

Premier Doug Ford made the request on a first ministers' call and was the only premier to do so, Trudeau told a news conference.

Ontario is asking the federal government to require all travellers crossing into Canada at land borders to observe the same three-day hotel quarantine that's now mandatory for air travellers.

"With several land border crossings between the United States and the Province of Ontario, this loophole represents a significant threat to the health and well-being of Ontarians due to the potential for further entry of COVID-19 variants into the province", the letter, which was signed by Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott.

Dr. Theresa Tam said the number of people with severe illness continues to rise, with an average of 4,400 hospitalizations each day over the past week, including 1,420 patients in intensive care.

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China is Australia's largest trading partner and before the pandemic, its biggest source of overseas university students. In 2018, Canberra staged an worldwide first by banning the Chinese tech giant Huawei from Australia's 5G network.

Ontario reported 3,887 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. "This is a serious loophole that exists and we are encouraging the federal government to address it immediately".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is open to stricter penalties for travellers who violate the mandatory quarantine period but will not introduce stricter quarantine measures for people crossing the U.S.

In the past two weeks, according to the letter, 150,000 people (in addition to essential commercial truckers) have crossed Canada's land borders, including dozens who crossed between April 24-26 after arriving from countries where direct flights to Canada are now banned.

"Not enough is being done to keep these deadly variants out of Canada", said Ford.

Ford is asking the federal government to suspend the arrival of global students into Ontario for the time being.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced late Thursday that curfews could be imposed in municipalities where the virus case rate exceeds 1,000 per 100,000 people and if the local governments ask for one.

There were eight new COVID-19 cases in Newfoundland and Labrador, all but one of which were linked to travel within Canada, said officials.

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