Travellers returning home must enter mandatory isolation: health minister

Clay Curtis
March 26, 2020

Freeland said the issue of quarantines was discussed during cabinet's coronavirus committee meeting Monday.

She said the government will make travel arrangements for those who can't line up their own rides.

"Earlier this month, we asked all travellers to self-isolate when they returned to Canada".

People arriving on flights at one of four global airports in the country will be required to self-isolate in the city they land in and the government will take care of accommodations and meals in those situations.

"When you come home it's important to protect your fellow Canadians by self-isolating for 14 days", Njoo said.

She also said that officials will gather traveller's contact information and then follow up with them directly to make sure they are staying in their homes even if they don't have symptoms.

"Canadians are great and people have been making real personal sacrifices", Freeland told a news conference.

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"Mandatory measures at this point are absolutely required", said McArthur. The government has also been warning of tougher measures for the past several days. "I think we all really appreciate that it so important to have this self-isolation to protect the health and safety of Canadians".

She is now invoking the Quarantine Act to force them to do so.

"Travellers returning to Canada, with the exception of essential workers, will be subject to a mandatory 14-day isolation under the Quarantine Act", said federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

The law also includes a range of penalties for those who violate such measures, including a fine of up to $1 million and up to three years in prison.

Worldwide travel - initially from China, then Iran and South Korea, then Europe and now the United States - has continued to be a significant vector for the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Ms. Freeland said Canadians who return home from being overseas are already being advised to go into self-isolation.

"We need to be thoughtful about how the people who provide those essential services, including cross-border trade, are treated", she said.

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