Canada to begin enforcing 14-day self-isolation for travellers

Coronavirus outbreak:

Coronavirus outbreak: "Significant penalties" if quarantines violated, Canadian Health Minister says

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said at a separate news conference that it will be a "legal obligation" for those returning to the country to go into self-isolation.

The federal government announced Wednesday that anyone coming back to Canada from another country must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.

Hajdu told Senate that people who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 upon their arrival in Canada will be "forbidden from using public transit to travel their places of self-isolation".

The formal quarantines, which take effect at midnight tonight, come with the potential for fines or even arrests for people violating them.

To ensure the rules are being followed, Hajdu said officials will collect travellers' contact information to follow up with them and there will be random inspections.

Travellers arriving at one of the four worldwide airports and connecting onwards will be forced to isolate for 14 days in the city they land in, the health minister said.

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"Mandatory measures at this point are absolutely required", said McArthur. There is no immediate word on how the government will be enforcing the measure. "Anytime you have a public health emergency I don't think the government should be afraid to take mandatory measures and also, unfortunately, we've seen that people just aren't adhering to the optional measures in many cases".

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said during an appearance at the Senate on Wednesday that the government is done asking those returning to Canada from other countries to respect the request to go directly home and stay there for 14 days.

Global travel, particularly from hard-hit countries such as China, Iran, and South Korea and then later Europe and the USA, has been identified as one of the major reasons for the virus' spread in Canada.

And Canada's border with the US, while closed to non-essential travel, is still open to trade and commerce, as well as travel for cross-border workers or students with visas.

Ms. Freeland said Canadians who return home from being overseas are already being advised to go into self-isolation.

"We need to be thoughtful about how the people who provide those essential services, including cross-border trade, are treated".

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