Canada restricts travel and requires airlines to ban symptomatic passengers

Wednesday, 18 Mar, 2020

Three additional deaths were recorded by health authorities on Monday - all linked to a care home for the elderly in a suburb of Vancouver - bringing the countrywide toll to four. The number has more than doubled since Friday.

"This pandemic will not end in a matter of weeks, and there won't be a clear opportunity to reopen schools, likely not until September at the earliest", said the province's chief medical officer of health, Dr Deena Hinshaw.

Over the weekend, hundreds of people descended on an Ottawa assessment centre, only for many to be sent home without a test because they fell short of the criteria.

He also confirmed that any Canadians who are unable to return home will be able to access funding from the government.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu and other leaders also reiterated calls for Canadians not to panic buy and reminded them the supply chains are safe and food and other supplies will be available. Trudeau said the order won't apply to commerce or trade.

- Starting at noon Wednesday, anyone who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident will be barred from boarding flights to Canada.

He adds airlines will be given the power to ban all travellers from coming onto a plane that show symptoms of COVID-19.

The Prime Minister also said incoming worldwide flights from several countries will be funnelled through four airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary starting on Wednesday for better screening. Its final commercially scheduled flight will be Sunday night.

"We assured you that as the situation evolved, our response would evolve too as the virus continues it spread". "Canadians now outside the country should find out what commercial options are still available and consider returning to Canada earlier than planned if these options are becoming more limited".

Canadians who are traveling outside the country should make plans to return soon, Trudeau remarked.

Trudeau also announced that Americans will also be allowed entry into Canada.

With the move, Canada becomes the first North American country to announce the closure of its borders at such scale. They also will have to acknowledge that they must self-isolate for 14 days if they're arriving from overseas. But he said a 14-day isolation period for drivers merely for crossing the border "would have been a disaster". She didn't say what those measures would be. Trudeau cited the close "integration" between Canada and the a reason for the exception.