Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that 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.
Trudeau also announced beginning next week, all international flights will only be allowed to land at four airports: Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal.
And 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, which Trudeau says includes private security, which his government has recently hired. 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.
Trudeau also noted that Canada has had its borders closed to non-essential international travellers for almost a year, has implemented a two-week quarantine, and has asked for Canadian residents and citizens to have a negative COVID-19 test result before coming back to the country.
Based on the data analyzed, fewer than 2% of COVID-19 cases are linked to Canadians coming back to the country.
“This is proof our current measures are working, but as I’ve said, one case is one case too many, and we must take into account new variants,” said Trudeau.
Trudeau added that the new additional measures are to prevent the variants from entering the country, which scientists “are closely tracking.”
He said that even one case of the variant that comes in could “cause significant challenges.”
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On January 19, Trudeau told Canadians, “Cancel your trip.”
“It’s not the time to be travelling abroad. If you had planned to leave the country, please, on behalf of all Canadians, cancel your trip. It’s not worth catching COVID-19 and bringing it back to Canada for a trip down south or elsewhere,” he said at the time.
Earlier this month, the federal government implemented stricter travel measures requiring all air travellers bound for Canada to present a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test in order to fly.