Ottawa: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new measures against curbing the spread of Covid-19, including the suspension of flights from the country to the Caribbean and Mexico until April.
“With the challenges we currently face with Covid-19, both here at home and abroad, we all agree that now is just not the time to be flying,” Xinhua news agency quoted Trudeau as saying at a press conference here on Friday.
“By putting in place these tough measures now, we can look forward to a better time,” he added.
The Prime Minister said the country main airlines, including flag carrier Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat, will cancel their services to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico, starting from Sunday until April 30.
Trudeau also outlined a new mandatory Covid-19 testing requirement at Canadian airports for inbound travellers.
They are obliged to quarantine for three days at a designated hotel on their own expense, which he said is “expected to be more than C$2,000”.
“Those with negative test results will then be able to quarantine at home under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement,” Trudeau said.
“Those with positive tests will be immediately required to quarantine in designated government facilities to make sure they’re not carrying variants of potential concern.”
Trudeau also stressed that non-essential travellers will have to show a negative test at land borders too.
“We will also, in the coming weeks, be requiring non-essential travellers to show a negative test before entry at the land border with the US, and we are working to stand up additional testing requirements for land travel.”
The new measures are designed to discourage Canadians from taking non-essential trips outside of the country as many Canadians reportedly have been escaping the chilly winter with vacations to sunny destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico.
Canada has had a ban on non-essential travel into the country by anyone who isn’t a citizen or permanent resident since last March.
More than 6.3 million people who have reportedly entered Canada since last March were not required to quarantine.
The Trudeau government began beefing up anti-Covid-19 measures earlier this month, requiring proof of a negative test, taken within 72 hours of departure time, before anyone is allowed to board a flight to Canada.
So far, Canada has reported a cumulative total of 769,408 coronavirus cases, with 19,775 deaths and 694,201 recoveries.