Federal government imposes temperature controls at airports, extends military deployments

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OTTAWA –
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government is making temperature checks on air passengers the last health check procedure to be added for Canadian travelers. Military deployments to long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec were also extended until June 26. As more and more restrictions are relaxed in Canada’s provinces, the Prime Minister has warned that, as witnessed by other countries at the start of the economic recovery, cases are starting to increase again. And so to avoid a second peak, there are still key precautions and even improved public health measures that need to be taken.

“After months of hard work, people are back where they started. Canada must learn from these lessons. Clearly, we must make security and control of this virus a top priority in this reboot, “said Trudeau during his speech at Rideau Cottage.

On Friday, the Prime Minister announced that as part of these permanent precautions, the government would make the temperature control of air passengers mandatory. This is done in a “phased approach,” said Trudeau, starting first for those traveling to Canada, then for those traveling from Canada, and finally for those traveling to Canada.

“A passenger who has a fever will not be allowed to board his flight. Airport security workers will also need to have their temperature checked, ”said Trudeau. “This screening will add yet another layer of protection. ”

About the same time that the soldiers were sent to homes for the aged, the government decided to require that all air passengers wear non-medical masks or face masks that pass through their mouths and noses. , under penalty of being denied boarding. Symptomatic people are not allowed to board.

Airlines have also already implemented additional cleaning and physical removal measures, although maintaining the recommended space between people is not always possible on board an aircraft.

Faced with questions about why this new measure will be lowered now, since his government has said in the past that temperature tests are not an effective tool to detect COVID-19, Trudeau said he it was “an extra layer of protection”.

“It is an additional layer of protection for people entering Canada, but it is not the only foolproof way to keep Canadians safe,” said Trudeau. “This is a measure that we can move forward and which, in addition to other measures, can be effective in keeping Canadians safe.”

EXTENDED MILITARY DEPLOYMENT

On another note, the government has extended the deployment of military personnel to homes for the aged to further encourage COVID-19 containment efforts.

In mid-April, teams of members of the Canadian Armed Forces were deployed to certain long-term care homes in Quebec and Ontario, where major COVID-19 outbreaks occurred.

There are currently more than 1,000 members deployed and discussions are underway to determine how long their mission will continue or evolve.

“Our women and men in uniform are doing remarkable work. Their help is still needed, so we are ensuring that our seniors continue to have this vital support, “said Trudeau on Friday.

The deployment to these homes triggered two overwhelming reports of the conditions inside some of these facilities, causing outrage and disgust from political leaders and families who have relatives living in these care homes.

In Canada, 82% of all deaths from COVID-19 are related to outbreaks in retirement homes. More than two dozen soldiers tested positive after spending time in one of these facilities.

Trudeau said military presence has led to improvements, but continues to note it’s not a long-term solution, and government seeks to gradually replace military with trained Red Cross workers .

“From the start, they were there to stabilize the situation, to put in place the necessary protocols and measures, when the situation was out of control. But in the past two months, the extraordinary work of the members of the Canadian Armed Forces has made a huge difference, “said Trudeau.

The extra help inside long-term care homes is just one aspect of what the military calls “Operation LASER”. Canadian Rangers have also been deployed to communities across Canada to assist in the COVID-19 field efforts.

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