Canadian PM announces hotel quarantine measures for air travelers

File photo: AP

OTTAWA, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that mandatory hotel quarantine measures for air travelers into Canada will come into effect on Feb. 22.

The new measures are meant to curb the spread of the new, more transmissible COVID-19 variants.

"We're trying to keep people safe and keeping Canadians safe from the viruses and discouraging all nonessential travel and ensuring that if people do have to travel, they're doing the things that we can be certain are going to prevent the virus from spreading," he said a press conference in Ottawa.

Under the new measures, air travelers entering Canada will be required to take a COVID-19 test at the airport at their own expense.

They'll then be required to spend the first three days of their quarantine at a government-supervised hotel while awaiting their results and pay their own hotel fees, food, and travel expenses.

Those with negative results will be allowed to board a connecting flight to their final destination within Canada and serve the remainder of their two-week quarantine at home, while those with positive tests will be sent to government-designated facilities.

Starting Feb. 15, people arriving in Canada by land borders must also show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival. As of Feb. 22, these travelers will also be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test upon arrival, as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine.

Those arriving in Canada are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine and must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of their arrival.

Trudeau noted that there will be exceptions for some essential workers but no one should be traveling for any non-essential reason right now, saying this is especially important as new, more contagious variants of the novel coronavirus emerge around the world.

"Nobody wants a third wave to start, particularly not one comprised of new, more communicable variants that can cause real challenges," Trudeau said.

As of Friday afternoon, Canada reported a cumulative total of 820,306 COVID-19 cases and 21,162 deaths, according to CTV.