After weeks of asking travellers to self-isolate after returning to Canada, the federal government has decided to begin enforcing the rule.
In an announcement on Wednesday, federal ministers stated that as of midnight tonight, the government would start enforcing the 14-day self isolation rule for travellers through the Quarantine Act.
Invoking the Quarantine Act gives the government the power to issue fines or even arrests to people found violating the self isolation rule.
Earlier this month, we asked all travellers to self-isolate when they returned to Canada. Today, we are making this isolation mandatory under the Quarantine Act to better protect our most vulnerable. pic.twitter.com/bKLdKh4mEu
— Patty Hajdu (@PattyHajdu) March 25, 2020
“All Canadians have been working very, very hard to practice physical distancing in their lives, and we have, for some time now been urgently advising people coming into Canada to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return,” said Deputy Prime Minister Chystia Freeland.
“We have decided now is the time to make that measure mandatory.”
She added that this measure and self isolation after travel is necessary in order to flatten the curve in Canada.
Canada closed the border to international travellers last week, permitting only Canadian citizens and permanent residents to enter the country.
The Canada-U.S. border has also been closed to non-essential travel, but remains open to trade, commerce, cross-border workers, and students with valid visas.
At the time of publication, there are a total of 44 confirmed cases of coronavirus on Vancouver Island and 617 in B.C.
The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic. This was followed by a $5 billion relief package announced by the B.C. provincial government.
The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C., and closure of all bars and restaurants, among other measures to enforce social distancing measures.
The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.
Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.
The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19 line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 452,241.
Over 20,400 people have died from the illness and 113,120 have made a full recovery.