Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board domestic flights or intercity passenger trains, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Saturday, to help reduce spread of the virus within Canada.
The new measure will kick in Monday at noon, and will be implemented by Transport Canada.
“We’ve been telling people who have symptoms, they need to stay home, they need to not travel,” said Trudeau. “Now there will be Transport Canada rules coming into place that will prevent anyone with symptoms to travel by air or by train.”
Trudeau said airlines and rail companies will be given additional tools to ensure anyone with symptoms doesn’t travel, but did not elaborate on what screening measures will be in place for domestic travellers.
The measure follows Wednesday’s announcement by federal Health Minister Patty Hadju, who used her powers under Canada’s Quarantine Act to mandate that people returning from international travel need to isolate for 14 days, or face possible fines or jail time.
However, the government is not looking at closing provincial borders at this time, said Trudeau.
“There is essential transport and travel that is happening. Merchandise such as food gets delivered across the country, and we need to continue to ensure that that’s happening,” he said.
“Every step of the way, we’re going to look at whether we need to take further measures to keep Canadians safe… We will make those decisions as they need to be made. But right now, we’re not looking at closing provincial borders.”
'Not out of the woods yet'
While Trudeau acknowledged that there is promising news out of B.C. that social, or physical, distancing measures are working – following provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s presentation on epidemiological modelling in B.C. – that isn’t a sign for people to stop following the health guidelines.
“We are not out of the woods yet,” he said, urging Canadians across the country to keep up with physical distancing.
The decline in the rate of transmission, said Trudeau, is because people started heeding health advice to self-isolate two weeks ago, and have continued to increase the steps they’re taking to follow those guidelines – such as working from home and not going out or travelling unless absolutely necessary.
“That (decline) is an excellent sign,” he said. “If we’re seeing a reduction in the spikes that means what we are doing is working, and we therefore need to continue doing what we are doing.”
As of Saturday morning, there are 4,756 cases in Canada, including 55 deaths and 13 repatriated citizens at CFB Trenton.
For all the latest COVID-19 news, click here.