A woman from Kingsville, Ont., Is frustrated with the federal government’s planning for Canadian travelers returning home from African countries to address concerns about the new variant of COVID-19.
Mary Ellen Havlik, who returned from a work trip to Nigeria on Friday, accused Ottawa of having a “gut reaction” to the omicron variant.
In late November, the government imposed additional restrictions on Canadians returning from certain African countries. A few days later, before Havlik’s return, Nigeria was added to this list.
Under the new measures, Canadians returning home after traveling by plane to one of Africa’s 10 countries are required to show proof of a negative molecular test (PCR) and be quarantined for 14 days . They are also due to undergo testing upon arrival at the airport and undergo another test on the 8th day of their quarantine.
Travelers should wait for the results of the arrival test at a designated hotel. If they are negative, they can be released from the hotel to be quarantined for the remaining days at home.
But Havlik, whose flight landed at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, says the process didn’t go smoothly. She claims that she and other travelers were “mistreated”.
Food thrown out of windows in “protest”
“There were some pretty dark things going on there. I had a lady next to me who had surgery and she had no pain medication, and she told the Red Cross about it and she went two days without pain medication, ”she said. CBC radios Windsor morning the host, Tony Doucette, Tuesday.
Havlik said she joined a WhatsApp group with people on her floor who shared these stories.
“There was a family of four travelers and the two toddlers were out of diapers. They called the Red Cross. No diaper was provided for them. “
CBC News contacted the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), but a spokesperson declined a request for an interview.
The spokesperson said the agency was not commenting on specific cases of travelers.
LISTEN | Havlik speaks to Windsor Morning about his aggravating return to Canada from Nigeria.
Havlik also said she was not given a room key card and told to stay inside unless she wanted to take a wellness walk outside. She said she had been given a Red Cross phone number and would help her with anything she needed.
But Havlik said the phone line was so overwhelmed that it couldn’t get through.
She said the food was “less than acceptable” and “some people were so upset that they started throwing their food out of the windows in protest.”
Havlik isn’t the only one complaining about his travel experiences amid the new variant. On Sunday, the government changed new measures for people arriving from South Africa in response to some complaints.
On Saturday, Havlik said she recovered the negative result of her PCR test and was told she would hear from a quarantine officer at the Public Health Agency of Canada. It took her almost two days to get the officer’s clearance to resume her flight back to Windsor.
In total, she was in the quarantine hotel for three days.
Havlik said she was “very happy” to be home.
“I just think it’s bad planning,” she said, adding that it didn’t seem like there were enough staff available for support, nor did they appear to be properly trained.
“I know this has been a very difficult situation to navigate, but it’s been almost two years since we’ve been dealing with this … by the time the omicron variant was identified and the Canadian government put this plan in place, they told us. seemed very poorly designed. “