Deputy PM Freeland Drops More Hints of Potential Hotel Quarantines

Mark Stachiew, Open Jaw
During a press conference Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said that the federal government is considering mandatory hotel quarantines for air travellers returning from non-essential trips abroad as a way to tighten travel measures designed to fight COVID-19.

“I would like to stress that we are taking this measure very, very seriously,” Freeland said.

It is the latest signal from Ottawa that stricter measures are coming to discourage non-essential travel during the pandemic. 

Other political leaders have been urging Ottawa to impose stronger non-essential travel restrictions including Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory who separately called for action on Monday to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

The Toronto Star reported that Ford urged the federal government to “close down any travel coming into Canada outside of residents or citizens of Canada.” He also called for mandatory testing for anyone coming into the country because of more contagious variants of COVID-19 that are circulating around the world. 

The latest pressure to stop non-essential travel is prompted by the emergence of new, more transmissible variants of the COVID virus. Experts say these make tightening the leaks around travel even more important and the new pre-flight testing requirements are not likely to catch all cases. 

In her worst-case scenario, Caroline Colijn, a mathematician and epidemiologist with Simon Fraser University, projects a skyrocketing spring wave fuelled by community spread of a more contagious variant. She says clamping down on travel is her "top recommendation right now."

Mark Stachiew

Mark Stachiew Editor

Mark Stachiew is a Montreal-based travel journalist who's been exploring and writing about the world for more than 30 years. When he's not travelling somewhere or grappling with words on a page, he curates his own collection of travel gear.

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