Travellers coming into Canada will be forced into mandatory hotel quarantines, part of a suite of measures designed to keep Canadians at home as the government grows increasingly concerned about the risk of new COVID variants that appear to be more transmissible.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the quarantines and several other restrictions on Friday outside Rideau Cottage.
Trudeau said travelers will pay for their hotel stay of up to 72 hours while waiting for a negative COVID test.
He estimated the cost at approximately $2,000 as they will have to pay for lodging, food, COVID tests and security ensuring they remain inside.
Anyone testing positive for the virus will have to finish their quarantine in a designated quarantine facility, where the government will cover the costs.
Travellers testing negative will be able to finish their 14-day quarantine at home, but Trudeau said the government would step up surveillance of those quarantines.
Private security firms have been hired to knock on doors of returning travellers to ensure they’re staying at home, and the government will be making regular phone calls as well.
Starting Sunday and extending to the end of April, Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat will cancel trips to sun destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean.
All international passenger flights arriving in Canada must land at only four airports, in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal, as part of this stepped up screening.