The federal government will start enforcing a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers at midnight, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said.
The announcement was made Wednesday morning (March 25), shortly after the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was peppered with questions about how the government was guaranteeing that travellers would self-isolate upon their return to Canada.
Freeland says “mandatory isolation” is needed to flatten the curve of the growth of the novel coronavirus in Canada, but exceptions will still be made for essential workers crossing the border. However, she said even essential border travel had decreased since last week.
“Now is the time to stay home; now is the time to practice physical distancing,” she said.
“These are extraordinary times.”
She said that as of midnight, the government will collect the contact information of non-essential travellers coming into Canada to ensure they quarantine. However, the new rule will not apply retroactively to travellers who have already returned, including an influx of people coming back from spring break trips.
“You should be doing it already,” Freeland noted.
She called Wednesday’s move a “serious further step … that should make Canadians feel much safer.”
Canada’s borders were closed last week, at first to non-U.S. travel and then to Americans as well.
More to come.
– with files from The Canadian Press