More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border was closed last March, but less than a quarter of them have been ordered to quarantine – the rest have been considered ‘essential travelers ”And exempt from the obligation.
Canada began restricting overseas travel in March, first asking Canadians themselves to avoid non-essential travel outside the country, and then from March 16, banning entry to anyone who was not Canadian, permanent resident, or US citizen.
The ban was extended to Americans on March 21. The 30-day U.S. border closure has now been extended seven times, and although it currently expires on November 21, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated on Friday to an Ontario radio station that he did not looking forward to reopening the border anytime soon.
“I think we all want things to get back to normal as quickly as possible. We also know that to get things back to normal we need to control the spread of COVID-19, ”Trudeau said on CKSY in Chatham-Kent on Friday morning.
“At this point, the risks are still too great to reopen the border.”
Canadians and permanent residents are allowed to return home, but must be quarantined for 14 days unless they fall into an essential category, such as truck drivers, airline crew members, military personnel or people coming to help with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Essential travelers are urged to wear masks when they cannot physically move away from others, and medical workers are urged not to treat people over 65 for 14 days.
Essential travelers also made up the bulk of arrivals according to data provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada. He said 3.5 million travelers, as of October 20, had been deemed essential and an additional 1.1 million were considered non-essential and were asked to be quarantined for two weeks.
PHAC is following up most of the people who have been quarantined through live or automated calls, and has asked the RCMP or local police to verify the whereabouts of 247,137 quarantined people.
The agency said 76 tickets and eight summons had been issued to people found in violation of the quarantine order.
PHAC statistics differ from data released weekly by the Canada Border Services Agency, which lists total arrivals by land, rail and air, as well as whether air travelers are arriving from the United States or from another country.
These data show that travel to this country has plunged by more than 90% since the borders were closed compared to the same period in 2019.
Almost half of all travelers arriving since March were truck drivers, according to the CBSA.
The CBSA also states that 63% of air travelers were Canadians or permanent residents.
Cole Davidson, spokesperson for Health Minister Patty Hajdu, said closing the border was critical to Canada’s COVID-19 strategy.
“It’s an important tool in keeping our families and communities safe, and it works,” he said.
Health Canada data covering 80 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases to date shows that about 4.4 percent of them were from recent travelers or people who had been in contact with them.
The government began allowing foreign nationals who are immediate relatives of a Canadian or permanent resident to come to Canada in June and more recently has expanded this to include extended family members, such as grandparents or siblings, as well as international students.