Canada just imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine on all returning travellers
Canada is no longer politely asking residents to self-quarantine after they return home from travelling out of the country.
As of midnight this evening, anyone who comes into Canada from abroad must immediately go into a 14-day-long period of self-isolation.
That is not a suggestion, nor is it a recommendation. It's an order — and one that could lead to significant legal and financial troubles for anyone who defies it.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu invoked the federal Quarantine Act during an appearance at the Senate on Wednesday afternoon, suggesting that the rare move is now necessary to help slow the spread of COVID-19 within Canada, which is currently reporting 1,959 confirmed cases of the deadly virus.
Earlier this month, we asked all travellers to self-isolate when they returned to Canada. Today, we are making this isolation mandatory under the Quarantine Act to better protect our most vulnerable. pic.twitter.com/bKLdKh4mEu— Patty Hajdu (@PattyHajdu) March 25, 2020
"This new measure will provide the clarity for those re-entering the country about the essential need to self-isolate," said Hadju.
"Individuals who exhibit symptoms upon arrival in Canada will be forbidden, also, from using public transit to travel to their places of isolation."
Travellers will be forbidden from self-isolating in any place where they may come into contact with other vulnerable people, and can consult the Public Health Agency of Canada for alternative arrangements if they can't secure such a space on their own, according to Hadju.
Recent travellers will also be barred from using public transit, even to get from the airport to their place of self-quarantine. Border officials will begin taking contact information for all who entry the country beginning on Thursday to monitor whether or not they're self-isolating as is mandatory.
NEW #COVID19 | The government is now using the Quarantine Act to make it MANDATORY for anyone returning to Canada to isolate for 14 days.— Kamil Karamali (@KamilKaramali) March 25, 2020
Penalties under Quarantine Act can be as drastic as $1M in fines, 3 years in prison.
STORY: https://t.co/tQckfK28Dl pic.twitter.com/pE8MLMAZrL
With the exception of essential workers, everyone coming into Canada must abide by the new order.
Hadju did not speak to the Senate about any particular penalties that would face those who violate it, but the quarantine act itself has some serious teeth.
Those who fail to comply with obligations imposed under the act risk fines of anywhere from $200,000 and / or six months in prison to $1 million and "imprisonment for a term of not more than three years.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland did say, however, that the measures would not be retroactive for people who've already entered Canada before midnight on Thursday.
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