Trudeau says air, train travel to be denied for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms

Boarding of domestic flights and trains will be denied to those showing symptoms related to COVID-19

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that as of noon Monday, boarding of domestic flights and trains will be denied to people showing any symptoms related to COVID-19.

He said all Canadians are being asked to remain home as much as possible in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, but in particular those with symptoms of COVID-19 should not go out. Those symptoms include fever and cough.

“We are giving further tools to airlines and rail companies to ensure that anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms does not travel,” he said. He said it will be up to the companies to ensure the new rules are followed.

Trudeau also addressed the situation of the 248 Canadians stranded on a cruise ship off the coast of Panama, where some passengers have tested positive for COVID-19 and four others have died.

The federal government is working with the Panamanian government and Holland America, which operates the Zaandam, in an effort to get the Canadians home.

He said the efforts are part of the “herculean task” Global Affairs Canada is undertaking to repatriate stranded Canadians around the world.

Two passengers on board the MS Zaandam have tested positive for the disease while 53 passengers and 85 crew have flu-like symptoms, Holland America said in a statement.

There are 1,243 passengers and 586 crew on board, the company said in a statement. The Zaandam is anchored off the coast of Panama and plans are underway to move healthy people to its sister ship nearby, Holland America said.

“We continue to engage with the Panamanian government, and are working with Holland America on their plans to get passengers home,” said Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Angela Savard.

Michael Kasprow is terrified for his 81-year-old mother, Julie, who is currently contained to her room with her friend on the Zaandam. She is healthy, he said, and had her vital signs checked yesterday.

“My mom’s demeanour certainly changed in the past 24 hours from, ‘This will be OK,’ to hearing news that people on board had passed away,” Kasprow said.

“My mom is my superhero and is incredibly circumspect when it comes to things like that, but it’s really stressful and scary to her, and this definitely rocked her a bit.”

The crew is preparing to move his mother to the sister ship, the Rotterdam, he said.

“From what I understand, they are going to move healthy and asymptomatic passengers over to the Rotterdam to find some place to dock,” Kasprow said.

All ports along its route are closed, Holland America said.

“While the onward plan for both ships is still being finalized, we continue to work with the Panamanian authorities on approval to transit the Panama Canal for sailing to Fort Lauderdale, Florida,” the company said.

Kasprow, from Toronto, said he is dealing with a mixture of emotions with the uncertainty about his mother, who lives in Thornhill, Ont.

“I just want her home in her stupid chair for 14 days so we have everybody in the same area and I can talk to her from the end of the driveway,” he said.

Meanwhile, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer has delivered a sobering assessment of the country’s struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Howard Njoo said the fight is far from over, that it could include a second wave, and that we are certainly in it “for the long haul.”

“It’s definitely months. Many months,” Njoo estimated Friday as the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada surged to 4,757, including 55 deaths.

Quebec’s COVID-19 caseload has soared to more than 2,000 — more than double Ontario’s 993 cases.

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been told by chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance to stay healthy and be ready to respond immediately to the escalating crisis.

One possible glimmer of hope did emerge from B.C. Friday, where data indicates the province’s COVID experience will likely resemble South Korea’s rather than brutally hit Italy. B.C.’s health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said she thinks the social distancing strategy is working and she urged residents to keep at it.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Peaceful anti-racism protest scheduled in Red Deer Monday at noon

A peaceful protest is scheduled at noon at Red Deer City Hall… Continue reading

Sylvan Lake RCMP put out call to help find missing man

Vehicle found in Rocky Mountain House area

‘It’s unsettling:’ Ranchers and feedlots worried about future impact of COVID-19

CREMONA, Alta. — A cacophony of bellowing cattle makes it hard to… Continue reading

Protests spark virus fears in US; South Korea sees new cases

MIAMI — Protests around the U.S. against police brutality have sparked fears… Continue reading

Feelings of guilt are behind America’s racial anguish

It’s been a bad week in the United States: six nights of… Continue reading

Canada’s Olympic, Paralympic athletes return to sport with help of $5 million

TORONTO — Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes will return to sport with… Continue reading

MLS players agree to concessions to return to action at Orlando tournament

TORONTO — MLS players have approved taking part in a summer tournament… Continue reading

Ricky Martin makes ‘Pausa’ to channel newly found anxiety

NEW YORK — The world paused and for the first time in… Continue reading

A superhero kid with autism shines in new PBS Kids’ series

NEW YORK — There’s a new crop of superheroes coming to our… Continue reading

SpaceX’s historic encore: Astronauts arrive at space station

SpaceX Dragon capsule pulled up to the station and docked automatically

Ottawa pledges millions to promote holiday travel in Canada during pandemic

Funding announced include $30 million originally earmarked for attracting foreign visitors

Most Read