Published: Thu, March 26, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Self-quarantine mandatory following out-of-country travel

Self-quarantine mandatory following out-of-country travel

The federal government will be enforcing a mandatory two-week quarantine for all travellers returning to Canada to try and limit the spread of COVID-19.

The government has been pleading with Canadians to self-isolate if they've returned from a trip since mid-March, but this move under the Quarantine Act makes it a legal obligation.

Earlier this month, we asked travellers entering Canada to self-isolate for 14 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

"The health minister will be using powers she has under the Quarantine Act beginning at midnight tonight to impose a mandatory 14 period of isolation on all people coming into Canada from outside Canada", says Freeland.

Hajdu told the Senate that individuals who exhibit symptoms will be banned from taking public transit to their places of isolation - but later said that all returning travellers will be forbidden from taking city buses, trains and subways. "We have decided that now is the time to make that measure mandatory", Freeland said during a press conference on Parliament Hill on Wednesday.

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The measure was one step beyond a previous government recommendation to self-isolate, and comes amid reports that some were ignoring the guidance.

Freeland said the issue of mandatory quarantines was debated at length during the Monday meeting of the cabinet coronavirus committee. "It will get worse before it gets better". It could also result in arrest and up to six months in jail.

Worldwide travel, particularly from hard-hit countries such as China, Iran, and South Korea and then later Europe and the US, has been identified as one of the major reasons for the virus' spread in Canada.

She also said it would ensure that those who live with vulnerable people, such as the elderly or those at greater risk due to immune suppression, will have alternative places to stay if "that's their only choice".

Everyone permitted to enter Canada are subject to this Order, "with the exception of certain persons who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods and services, and those who provide essential services".

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