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COVID-19: Arrival Tests In Canada + Hotel Quarantine + Flights To Sun Destinations Cancelled Until April 30, 2021

To the point

Canada will conduct tests upon travellers' arrival, imposing a hotel quarantine and a suspension of flights to the sun destinations.

COVID-19: Arrival Tests In Canada + Hotel Quarantine + Flights To Sun Destinations Cancelled Until April 30, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a decision today by announcing a number of measures related to international travellers.

PCR Tests For International Arrivals in Canada

International arrivals will be concentrated in 4 international airports:

  • YUL – Montreal
  • YYZ – Toronto
  • YYC – Calgary
  • YVR – Vancouver

Mandatory PCR testing will be performed upon arrival and will apply to all passengers arriving from outside the country (whether from the U.S. or elsewhere in the world).

These PCR tests do not replace the tests that passengers must already perform 72 hours before boarding their flight to Canada. They are complementary.

Hotel Quarantine

Following these PCR tests on arrival, passengers will be required to isolate themselves at their own expense in government-designated hotels while waiting for the results for up to 3 days.

The Government estimates that this hotel quarantine is expected to cost more than $2,000 for those three days.

A high cost for hotel accommodation near airports, likely including ancillary costs such as food, stewardship and monitoring.

If the test result is negative, travellers will be allowed to go to their quarantine location to isolate themselves for the remaining time (up to 14 days in total, as is currently the case).

If the test result is positive, travellers will be redirected to government facilities to ensure that they cannot transmit the virus.

Flights to Sund Destinations are cancelled until April 30, 2021.

As of Sunday, January 31, 2021, all flights to the Sun Destinations (Mexico and Caribbean) are cancelled until April 30, 2021.

Air Canada, Air Transat, WestJet and Sunwing have agreed to work with the federal government to stop leisure travel.

Air Canada would like to show its support for the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts with the suspension of its flights to the Caribbean and Mexico:

Air Canada believes that a collaborative approach with the Government of Canada, involving all carriers, is the best way to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly given the concerns about COVID-19 variants and travel during the spring break.

Calin Rovinescu, président et chef de la direction d'Air Canada

The 15 destinations affected by the suspension of Air Canada services are as follows:

Cayo Coco
Cancún
Liberia
Montego Bay
Punta Cana
Varadero
Puerto Vallarta
Antigua
Aruba
Barbados
Kingston
Mexico City
Nassau
Providenciales
San José

Canadians abroad at these destinations, however, will be able to try to return home on one-way commercial flights operated by Air Canada, and other customers will be reimbursed for future flights, as no alternative is available at this time.

Conclusion

Therefore, the Federal Government has followed the various calls made by provincial governments, fuelled by media pressure on travellers, especially during the holiday season.

Is it a good decision to introduce this now, when the transmission of the virus is community-based (with the Government saying that travellers account for less than 2% of infections)?

Shouldn’t the Federal Government have introduced this in the spring of 2020, as countries like New Zealand have done? And to enforce the quarantine much more scrupulously (and to carry out tests on arrival)?

Unfortunately, with “ifs” we could remake the world and rewrite history. Let us now hope that the vaccine distribution will be as effective as possible so that these measures are not long-lasting and that we can quickly get out of this infernal spiral.

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