Add $2,000 To The Caribbean Vacation You Can’t Take

A week ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau begged Canadians to not travel during these unpredictable COVIDian times because he was worried that vacationers may bring back new and different strains of the coronavirus into Canada.

Already doctors, scientists, politicians and the general public are guessing how effective the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will stand up against the UK, Brazilian and South African strains of the virus. According to CNBC, Dr. Fauci said, “There is some good news: The newly developed mRNA technology used to make the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna makes it easy to adapt to the new strains. The drug makers are already working to make so-called ‘booster’ shots that will target the variant found in South Africa, which appears to be more problematic than the others.”

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Speaking to the country on Friday, January 29th, from the steps of Rideau cottage Trudeau said, “With the challenges we currently face with COVID-19, both here at home and abroad, we all agree that now is just not the time to be flying. By putting in place these tough measures now, we can look forward to a better time when we can all plan those vacations.”

Cases connected to international travel account for only two percent of COVID-19 cases in this country. One of the many reasons the government has implemented the new travel restrictions is that they are concerned a large percentage of travellers are skipping the quarantine measures altogether.

Trudeau said that Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat have all agreed to cancel air services to “all Caribbean destinations and Mexico,” starting Sunday. The cancellations will continue until April 30.

Additionally, Trudeau introduced a new mandatory PCR test requirement at Canadian airports for people returning to Canada. He stressed that these vacationers will wait for their COVID-19 test results for up to three days at a designated hotel, which the government won’t be responsible for paying the bill. Trudeau added that hotels would most likely cost more than $2,000 for three whole days.

Trudeau continued by saying, “Those with positive tests will be immediately required to quarantine in designated government facilities to make sure they are not carrying variants of potential concern.”

At the same time, the Public Health Agency of Canada declared Friday that the federal government will be receiving assistance from private security firms to impose the 14-day compulsory quarantine and conduct in-person compliance visits. Contracts adding up to $2 million have been granted to G4S Secure Solutions (Canada) Ltd., GardaWorld and Paladin Risk Solutions, according to PHAC. The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, a non-profit that hires Canadian Armed Forces veterans and retired RCMP officers, has also been tapped to help with in-person visits. According to PHAC spokesperson Tammy Jarbeau, in an email, “The trained and designated Screening Officers working under these contracts will begin in-person compliance visits on January 29, 2021, beginning in Montreal and Toronto. Roll-out across Canada to 35 municipalities is anticipated in the weeks following.”

Will these new travel restrictions keep Canadians and foreign visitors from bringing various new strains of COVID-19 into the country? Perhaps in a month’s time we will know the answer to this question.

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Myles Shane

Myles Shane