Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that mandatory COVID-19 testing will be implemented at airports, including Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.
Starting in February, there will be a second mandatory COVID-19 test for arriving passengers.
As they await the result, they will be required to wait in quarantine for three days at a supervised hotel. The stay will cost $2,000 per person – which includes the cost of private tests and the hotel stay.
If they receive a negative test result, they can go home to quarantine with enhanced supervision. But if the test is positive, they will be taken to a government facility.
Trudeau said these “decisions are not made lightly” and are “informed, effective decisions that take in all factors and their consequences.”
“My priority is to protect Canadians,” said the prime minister.
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In addition, beginning next week, all international flights will only be allowed to land at four airports: Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary.
As well, major Canadian airlines are cancelling their air service to sun destinations including the Caribbean and Mexico starting this Sunday until April 30.
The airlines include Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Transat.
In Quebec, Premier François Legault has been very vocal about wanting returning Quebec-bound travellers to quarantine at their own expense.
Last week, Legault said he wanted the quarantine rooms to be “monitored,” and would mandate the stay to be for two weeks. He urged Trudeau and the federal government to ban all non-essential international flights, including people travelling on vacation and to all-inclusive resorts.
The premier said he’s “very worried” about people returning from international travel, especially as March break looms in the not-too-distant future. Legault says COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the province are too high for people to be leaving and returning to the country.
Legault said had the federal government not reacted to tightening travel measures, the Quebec government would have “put in place some measures ourselves” at airports across the province.
In response to the news, Legault thanked Trudeau on Twitter, “for the measures he announced regarding travel abroad.” The premier said he “offers him the full cooperation of the Government of Quebec.”