Frank Gunn/CP
A lone passenger stands outside the International Arrivals area at Pearson Airport in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. As the federal government prepares to slap new restrictions on foreign arrivals, Health Canada data suggest a growing number of infections directly connected to international travel.

Bending the curve: Trudeau’s travel restrictions similar to Australia’s rules

The new normal has been with Canadians for about a year now and there are many Canadians who understand the need for restrictions.

But there are also those who don’t.

The federal Liberal government enacted travel measures last week: passengers returning from abroad will have to quarantine at a hotel for up to three days after taking a PCR test at the airport.

The hotel cost for the traveller is about $2,000.

The move is one of several measures meant to choke off entry of the virus into Canada, but comes after case numbers of more transmissible variants have begun to rise.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted travel restrictions were coming about a week before they were enacted. Through these regulations the federal government’s message to Canadians is simple: don’t travel if it’s not essential.

With these rules, the federal government isn’t banning travel completely, but is making it difficult to do so. Someone who must travel at this time will have to jump through the many hoops.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says foreigners can still apply to enter the country for non-essential reasons that include supporting a critically ill person, attending a funeral or being with a loved one who is dying.

“Since the beginning of this pandemic there have been stories of funerals that haven’t been able to be held, weddings had to (be) put off or done by Zoom, families not being able to get together,” Trudeau said Tuesday.

“But at the same time our responsibility is to make sure we’re keeping Canadians as safe as possible. These new variants out there are of real concern.”

He said “rare exceptions” to new travel restrictions will be made on compassionate grounds.

It seems like yesterday and yet a long time ago that Canada recorded its first-ever novel coronavirus case in January 2020, after a Toronto man had returned from China.

Fast forward to December when Canada reported UK variant cases. They were found in Ontario and B.C., where patients had either travelled or been in contact with others who had travelled.

Since we know our source of the virus is indeed through travel, the federal government has made the right decision by putting measures in place to try and nip the virus in the bud at its source.

The restrictions remind me of what Australia has done to eliminate the spread of the virus. Since March, international travellers in Australia have had to abide by a mandatory two week hotel quarantine.

The move is an inconvenience to many, and understandably so, but it’s a small price to pay for the greater good.

It’s the right plan if we want to save people’s lives, open our small businesses while not adding stress to the health-care system.

People entering Canada have an obligation to comply with testing and quarantine requirements.

But Premier Jason Kenney, Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan and Red Deer city councillor Vesna Higham — are asking for transparency in the process.

“Federal agencies … could avoid a lot of anger and confusion if they were more transparent about where people will be staying,” Kenney said earlier this week.

The premier was reacting to complains of returning travellers being detained in isolation while their families are left in the dark about what’s happening. This was the case for a family in Red Deer.

The scenario unfolded for a 20-year-old Red Deer man last weekend. His mother, Rebekah McDonald, posted a video on Facebook and YouTube recounting the upsetting experience at Calgary airport.

There was no reason to withhold information about where this man was being taken or when he would be free to rejoin his family.

Kenney is correct: a little bit of openness in this regard will certainly help everyone and reassure the families of returning travellers.

It’s not every day I agree with so many politicians. But in this instance, I commend both our prime minister and our premier for their efforts to curb the number of cases in our communities.

With files from The Canadian Press

Mamta Lulla is managing editor at the Red Deer Advocate.



mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Air TravelCoronavirusJustin Trudeau

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

Just Posted

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. Health Canada is just “days away” from approving Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, adding a fourth option to Canada’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Health Canada just days away from decision on Johnson and Johnson vaccine

Johnson and Johnson was authorized in the United States last weekend

Red Deer Rebels forward Jayden Grubbe is one of three Rebels on the NHL Central Scouting players to watch list for the 2021 NHL Draft. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Rebels seek consistency ahead of matchup with Hitmen

The Red Deer Rebels had to deal with a pang of regret… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney and Minister of Health Tyler Shandro to announce investments to reduce surgery wait times. (File photo by BLACK PRESS)
More than 16K surgeries, procedures delayed in Alberta due to COVID-19

COVID-19 has delayed more than 16,000 surgeries and procedures in Alberta, as… Continue reading

Quinn Mason died from an opioid overdose at the age of 23 in June 2020. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta mother whose son died from overdose advocates for ‘change’

It’s been about nine months since her son died from an overdose,… Continue reading

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Thursday that the province was ready to move forward with Phase 2A and B in the coming weeks. (Photo by Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier)
Majority of Albertans to receive first shot before June 30: Shandro

Shandro says all Albertans should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine by June 30

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Dillon Dube scores hat trick for Flames in 7-3 win over Senators

Dillon Dube scores hat trick for Flames in 7-3 win over Senators

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp gives instructions during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Phil Noble, Pool via AP)
Liverpool slumps to historic 5th straight loss at Anfield

Liverpool slumps to historic 5th straight loss at Anfield

Philadelphia Flyers' Sean Couturier (14) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry (35) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Flyers rally from early deficit to stun Penguins 4-3

Flyers rally from early deficit to stun Penguins 4-3

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen reacts to a goal by Winnipeg Jets' Paul Stastny, left, during first-period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Thursday, March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Pierre-Luc Dubois scores overtime winner as Winnipeg Jets edge Montreal Canadiens 4-3

Pierre-Luc Dubois scores overtime winner as Winnipeg Jets edge Montreal Canadiens 4-3

Toronto Raptors guard Terence Davis (0) shoots after grabbing a rebound against Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Boston. At right is Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Tatum scores 27, Celtics outlast depleted Raptors 132-125

Tatum scores 27, Celtics outlast depleted Raptors 132-125

International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel answers a question during a news conference addressing hockey issues at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. The International Ice Hockey Federation has confirmed the postponement of the women's world hockey championship in Nova Scotia to May 6-16. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP /Mark Humphrey
IIHF postpones women’s world hockey championship in Nova Scotia to May

IIHF postpones women’s world hockey championship in Nova Scotia to May

Quebec Premier François Legault chairs a virtual news conference Thursday, March 4, 2021 in Montreal. The premiers from the left are: John Horgan, B.C.; Jason Kenney, Alberta; Scott Moe, Saskatchewan; Legault, Quebec; Brian Pallister, Manitoba; Doug Ford, Ontario; and Blaine Higgs, New Brunswick. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Premiers reiterate demand for $28-billion increase in health transfers from Ottawa

Premiers reiterate demand for $28-billion increase in health transfers from Ottawa

Most Read