According to the News channel, Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government has written to the federal government, requesting that quarantine measures at Canada’s airports be expanded to the land border with the United States.
In the document, Ontario Deputy Premier Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said, “We are requesting the introduction of a mandatory three-day hotel quarantine in federally designated hotels at the highest traffic crossings, including those in Niagara, Windsor, Sarnia, and Brockville.”
On Feb. 22, the federal government introduced new quarantine measures at airports, forcing all air travelers returning from non-essential trips abroad to isolate themselves for up to 72 hours in a federally mandated facility while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction test, also known as a PCR test.
People crossing land borders were required to take a COVID-19 test upon entering the country, and then again after 14 days of isolation at home.
During a call with all the premiers on Thursday evening, Ford asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau specifically to enforce quarantine at a federal facility near land borders. Following the end of the call, the letter was submitted.
Following the call, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs told media channel Network’s Power & Politics on Thursday that all of the provinces supported Ford’s call for tighter quarantine controls at the land border.
Higgs keeps host Vassy Kapelos says Trudeau “certainly acknowledged that it is a fact and that they need to focus on closing or regulating that.”
According to a senior federal government official, the prime minister decided to continue working with Ford and other premiers to resolve their border concerns on Thursday evening.
The written request comes after Ontario requested intensified testing at the land border earlier this week in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 virus variants of concern that are currently fueling the third wave of the pandemic in Canada.
A mandatory three-day quarantine in a federally designated facility can cost up to $2,000 per person. To avoid paying the bill, some people have returned to Canada by flying to a U.S. city near the Canadian border, taking a taxi to a port of entry, and walking across the border to separate themselves at home.
“We are requesting that the federal government take urgent steps to close this loophole to protect the lives and well-being of our people, as well as to avoid the spread of new variants into our province,” the letter to Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu said.
Travelers who have tested positive for COVID-19 are tracked by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
According to a renowned news channel, the department received 50,905 test results from land travelers on the day they arrived in Canada between February 22 and April 18. COVID-19 was found in 128, or 0.25 percent, of those, studied.
During the same time span, the department received 144,177 test results for air travelers, of which 2,541 — or 1.76 percent — were positive for COVID-19.
Blair said in February that enforcing the same quarantine conditions at land boundaries would be difficult.
“We have 117 different points of entry at land boundaries,” he said, “and many of those points of entry are located in remote, rural areas,” far from hotels and other amenities.