The Canadian government said that it may impose stricter restrictions on travellers at any time to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
The order may require hotel quarantine to all the travellers at their own expense to arrive in Canada.
Trudeau said at a press conference that such measures could be suddenly imposed and bluntly warned against unnecessary foreign travel.
“Nobody should go on vacation abroad at the moment. If you have one more planned, cancel it. And don’t book a trip for the spring break, ”Trudeau said.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says the federal government is “looking seriously” at tougher travel measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including mandatory hotel quarantines for air travellers returning from non-essential trips abroad.
“I would like to stress that we are taking this measure very, very seriously. We are considering the issue very, very seriously,” Freeland said in a news conference Monday in response to a question about the potential quarantine rule.
Canada already requires those entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days and present a negative COVID-19 Tet taken within three days of arrival. The proposed measure would require insulation in a hotel rather than at home.
Recent variants of the virus, which have emerged in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, appear to be spreading easier, and scientists say it will lead to more cases, deaths and hospitalizations. They are also concerned about a potential ability to ultimately decrease the effectiveness of vaccines.
Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto and the medical director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Sinai-University Health Network, said he favored making it mandatory for travelers to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense.
“It’s inconvenient for the travelers, but we’re in a pandemic,” Morris said. “If you want to protect the borders and do as much as you can to avoid importation of further problematic strains, and you want your cases to go down, then that’s what you have to do. In my mind it’s good. It’s late. It’s months late.”
Morris said the measure would discourage vacations abroad as people would not want to have to quarantine at a hotel at their own expense upon return.
According to him, more and more governments are thinking about ways to be more aggressive because of the new variants, delays in vaccines, the challenges with getting the population vaccinated and the strains on health care systems.