While Canadians were just asked to self-isolate upon returning from travels, it is now mandatory.
According to Health Minister Patty Hajdu, on March 25, Canada is making self-isolation mandatory under the Quarantine Act.
“Earlier this month, we asked all travellers to self-isolate when they returned to Canada,” Hajdu said. “Today, we are making this isolation mandatory under the Quarantine Act to better protect our most vulnerable.”
Earlier this month, we asked all travellers to self-isolate when they returned to Canada. Today, we are making this isolation mandatory under the Quarantine Act to better protect our most vulnerable. pic.twitter.com/bKLdKh4mEu
— Patty Hajdu (@PattyHajdu) March 25, 2020
The Quarantine Act’s purpose “is to protect public health by taking comprehensive measures to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases.”
Earlier on Wednesday, during his press conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about adding protective measures at airports for returning travellers.
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When asked about thermal screenings, Trudeau said that the government recognizes there are many concerns about returning to Canada.
“We’re asking people to immediately isolate,” he said.
And just a short while after his statement, Hajdu shared the now-mandated quarantine.
While initial coronavirus cases in Canada were travel related, almost half of Canada’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 are now due to community spread, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Officials say that while risk varies between and within communities, the overall risk to Canadians is considered high.
“There is already a significant impact on our health care system,” reads Canada’s coronavirus update page. “If we do not flatten the epidemic curve now, the increase of COVID-19 cases could impact health care resources available to Canadians.”
Of the remainder of cases, 42% come from travellers, 7% come from close contact with a traveller, and 4% have yet to be determined.
Earlier this month, Canada closed its borders to travellers who aren’t citizens or permanent residents. As well, Canada and the US agreed to close their borders to non-essential travellers.