Business Insider reports Canada has so far avoided the United States’ coronavirus fate, and is taking drastic measures to ensure it stays that way.
The country on Tuesday announced that all travelers entering the country would be required to quarantine themselves for 14 days, even if they aren’t showing symptoms of COVID-19.
There are “few exceptions,” to the rules, the government’s public health agency said, besides those who “ensure the continued flow of goods and essential services, or individuals who receive or provide other essential services to Canadians.”
Those exempt individuals, like truck drivers, are still required to wear a mask upon entry to the country and while in transit. The rules are punishable by a fine of up to $750,000 or jail, and the government will be conducting spot checks to ensure compliance, it said.
The Government of Canada’s top priority is the health and safety of Canadians. We are taking unprecedented action to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic. This includes continually assessing the risks to adapt our response accordingly.
The Government of Canada’s Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act already requires persons entering Canada—whether by air, land or sea —to isolate for 14 days if they have symptoms of COVID-19, or to quarantine themselves for 14 days if they are asymptomatic to limit the spread of COVID-19.
An updated Order is being issued, under which any traveller arriving in Canada—whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic—cannot isolate or quarantine in a place where they would be in contact with people who are vulnerable, such as adults aged 65 years or over and people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Upon arrival, every traveller will need to confirm that they have a suitable place to isolate or quarantine, where they will have access to basic necessities, such as food and medication. Travellers will be expected to make plans for where they will isolate or quarantine in advance of arriving to Canada. Travellers who do not have an appropriate place in which to isolate or quarantine themselves must go to a place designated by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. These criteria are newly applied to asymptomatic travellers.
In addition, all travellers arriving in Canada will be required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering to proceed to their final destination where they will isolate or quarantine. They will be provided with a mask if they do not have one.
These new mandatory measures are an additional layer in Canada’s actions to protect the health of Canadians, including persons aged 65 and over and people with pre-existing medical conditions, who are at greatest risk of severe health complications related to COVID-19.
“As our knowledge about COVID-19 evolves, we continue to adjust our response to this epidemic. These changes will make it clearer to asymptomatic travellers arriving in Canada that they need to have an appropriate place to self-isolate, where they will not put any vulnerable people such as adults aged 65 years or over and people with pre-existing medical conditions at risk.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
“Canada’s response to COVID-19 is based on the latest scientific evidence. As we learn more about this illness, we must adapt our public health measures and our border measures appropriately. These new requirements for travellers are part of our multilayered pan-Canadian response to this epidemic. We will continue to keep Canadians informed about the risks of COVID-19 and the actions we must all take to plank the curve of this epidemic.”
Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
- This Order is mandatory and will come into force and be implemented one minute after midnight on April 15, 2020.
- The Order applies to all people entering Canada, with few exceptions. Certain persons who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods and essential services, or individuals who receive or provide other essential services to Canadians, are exempt from the requirements to quarantine themselves, as long as they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 upon entry in Canada.
- Persons exempt from mandatory quarantine are still required to wear an appropriate mask or face covering upon entry into Canada and while in transit, and should otherwise respect the intent of the Order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.
- Spot checks will be conducted by the Government of Canada to verify compliance.
- Maximum penalties include a fine of up to $750,000 or imprisonment for six months, or both, for failure to comply with this Order.
- A person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while willfully or recklessly contravening the Quarantine Act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment of up to three years, or both.