Canada today officially announced the details of its new mandatory hotel quarantine for incoming international travelers. We first heard about this concept a few weeks ago, but now we know when the policy will be implemented and how exactly it will work.
Canada adds mandatory hotel quarantine for travel
With Canada’s current restrictions on international travel, those returning to Canada can:
- Do you need to do a PCR test before taking your flight
- You need to quarantine yourself for 14 days
Now, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the introduction of a mandatory hotel quarantine on return to Canada in addition to the existing restrictions. For those arriving by plane to Canada from February 22, 2021:
- Travelers must be tested before they return to Canada
- Travelers will be retested on their return to Canada before leaving the airport
- All international flights must land in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver
- Travelers must reserve a three-night stay at a government-authorized hotel where they will have to wait for their test results. These hotels will be bookable from February 18, 2021
- Travelers are then required to self-quarantine for 14 days, with “enhanced surveillance” in the form of electronic submission of travel and contact information, including an appropriate quarantine schedule, before entering Canada
- Towards the end of the 14-day quarantine, travelers must be given an additional test
- This entire process is expected to cost more than CAD 2,000 per traveler that the traveler must pay
While several other countries that take coronavirus seriously require quarantine in one facility, Canada’s approach is different. Canada does not require a 14-day quarantine, just a three-day quarantine.
It seems like this is just meant to stifle international travel rather than necessarily having a lot of logic:
- The price for three days of quarantine and testing seems extremely high
- A three-day quarantine is not enough to cover all coronavirus cases, as the incubation period is often longer
- It seems that the three day quarantine is supposed to allow time for the results of the tests to be processed on arrival, although it is not entirely clear why this takes so long
My main concern here is that this creates a huge rush for people to return to Canada before the new restrictions go into effect. Given the new strains of coronavirus, is it wise to cause an influx of people to Canada in the next 10 days?
Travelers returning to Canada must be quarantined at a hotel
Canadian airlines are canceling flights to the Caribbean and Mexico
Not only is Canada adding the above restrictions for international travelers, but Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat all agreed to cease air traffic to the Caribbean and Mexico from late January.
It doesn’t seem to me that there is an explicit flight ban, but that the government is working with Canadian airlines to prevent such travel.
WestJet no longer flies to the Caribbean and Mexico
Canada is taking some drastic measures to restrict international travel that will apply to arrivals from February 22, 2021. In addition to the current requirements for pre-travel testing and 14-day self-quarantine, the country must also conduct tests on arrival, a hotel quarantine of up to three days and an additional test at the end of the 14-day quarantine that could cost a total of CAD 2,000 .
In addition, Canadian airlines have agreed to cancel flights to the Caribbean and Mexico.
I’m not sure this strategy is terribly coherent, but I can imagine that this will lead people to rethink almost any discretionary international trip, which is likely the goal.
What do you think of Canada’s new international restrictions?