How Trudeau’s failed border controls could keep Canada on lockdown until winter – fr

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How Trudeau’s failed border controls could keep Canada on lockdown until winter – fr


If one in three people are exempt from quarantine, it’s a major loophole

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford has consistently criticized the Trudeau government for lax international borders, a federal jurisdiction. In a May 12 tweet, Ford shared a National Post article, which reports that nearly a third of international air travelers are exempt from the “mandatory” three-day hotel quarantine. Federal authorities have not provided details on the reasons for the exemptions, although they generally apply to essential workers, diplomats and others whose need to cross borders is deemed essential by the federal government. , in addition to the exemptions granted for humanitarian reasons.

While one in three people are exempt from quarantine, it is a major flaw in what Trudeau has claimed to be a credible response to the danger of new infections and new variants of COVID-19 entering and then spreading in Canada. Another loophole exploited to avoid hotel quarantine is to fly to the United States and then cross the land border. Remarkably, no hotel quarantine is required when arriving by land rather than air, as for some reason federal officials seem to believe the virus is less transmissible if it enters Canada by road. .

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This is not the only major flaw in the federal government’s belated response to securing Canada’s borders. Recently, after a long delay, the federal government suspended flights from India and Pakistan. India, in particular, is ravaged by a devastating second wave of the virus, driven by the so-called ‘double mutant’, a new Indian variant of the virus, B.1.617.2, which was recently dubbed as a “worrying variant” by the World Health Organization.

But that hasn’t stopped some intrepid travelers from bending the rules, entering through a third country deemed safe, and purchasing separate tickets so that Canadian authorities don’t know their true point of origin when they land. in Canada. Analysis of social media groups of travelers trying to re-enter Canada reveals Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Mexico City are popular transit points for those trying to escape flight suspensions from countries like India .

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We know that B.1.617.2 is already circulating in Canada, but authorities’ reports have been inconsistent and there is no credible estimate of the total number of infections attributable to this variant. In Ottawa, for example, the majority of recent cases have been identified as the British variant B.1.1.7, with three cases of the Indian variant detected. Remarkably, B.1.617.2 is still only considered a “variant of interest” by Canadian authorities, although this may change as a result of the WHO decision.

The UK said last week that the Indian transfer was a “worrying variant”. British experts have already warned that this could derail the planned UK reopening on May 17, following the UK’s successful vaccination campaign and the consequent drop in infections and deaths. In parts of the UK, particularly Bolton and Blackburn, B.1.617.2 accounts for half of new cases. The UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has warned that a highly contagious or immune-missing variant of the vaccines could cause a devastating wave of new infections.

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As usual, Canada is catching up, and as authorities have serious concerns about the Indian variant and potentially other variants, they are likely to circulate widely in Canada. If that happens, the revolving door of locking and reopening will almost certainly continue well beyond next fall and winter. And remember, unlike the UK and US, Canada lags far behind in the number of people fully vaccinated, so the introduction of dangerous new variants from abroad will likely be even worse. in Canada than elsewhere.

The biggest problem is the lack of a coherent national strategy in Canada to prevent transmission of the virus both abroad and within Canada until enough people are fully immunized. While international travel from hotspot countries is problematic enough, domestic air travel is responsible for around 80% of air travel-related infections, according to Global News reports.

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No federal regulations prohibit travel or impose quarantine on domestic travel, although a patchwork of provincial regulations has emerged. Even these are riddled with loopholes, as there is little or no oversight to ensure compliance, with the notable exception of the generally well-regulated bubble in Atlantic Canada.

Unfortunately, the federal government appears to be reacting to developments rather than anticipating and planning ahead. You can certainly blame the Ontario government for a premature reopening in early spring and another poorly communicated lockdown as a spike in third wave infections ravaged the province. However, Ford is right when he points out that the deadly new variants that are at least in part responsible for the recent spike in cases have not only crossed the Atlantic Ocean, but have arrived with travelers arriving through porous border crossings. from the country.

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