COVID-19 Update for January 29 – 1:40PM

This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government and major airlines have agreed to suspend service to sun locations. The federal government has also increased testing requirements at airports and land borders for people returning to Canada and non-essential travellers.

Travel Measures
Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat will be cancelling flights to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico starting this Sunday and lasting until April 30. The airlines will make arrangements with Canadians currently on trips to arrange their return. Further, all international commercial, private, business, and charter flights will only be allowed to land at Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal effective February 3 without exception (save for Saint Pierre and Miquelon).

Adding to the already-required pre-boarding test, the government will be introducing mandatory PCR testing at airports for those returning to Canada “as soon as possible in the coming weeks”. Travellers will then have to wait at an approved hotel for their test results for up to three days at their own expense, which is expected to cost roughly $2,000. Those with negative test results are able to quarantine at home “under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement” for two weeks. Those with positive test results must quarantine immediately in “designated government facilities”, according to Trudeau, to ensure that they are not carrying variants of COVID-19.

At the land border with the United States, non-essential travellers will also be required to show a negative test before crossing, and additional testing requirements for land travel are currently being worked on.

Vaccine Delivery
Trudeau added that he received confirmation from the president of the European Commission that measures taken by Europe will not affect the delivery of vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna. Canada will receive 180,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine next week. He also spoke with the CEO of Pfizer and they confirmed that Canada is still on track to receive 4 million doses of their vaccine by the end of Q1 and added that more detail on the potential to receive additional doses to what is expected to come in the spring would be revealed next week.

Safe Return to Class
The final announcement of the morning was that an agreement has been reached between the federal government and all provinces and territories to release the second allocation of $1 billion from the Safe Return to Class Fund. The fund can be used for better sanitation, support for online learning, increased ventilation, and more.

The news release on this funding can be found here.

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