The Premiers of Ontario and Quebec have penned a letter to the Prime Minister asking that international travel be curtailed. Doug Ford and Francois Legault have asked for further measures to control the spread of COVID-19 variants of concern. In the letter, they ask Justin Trudeau to further restrict the number of international flights coming into Canada and to roll out more protective measures at the US-Canada land border by further restricting non-essential travel.
“We are concerned about the growing number of cases attributed to variants, which arrived in Canada through international travel. We are writing to you to request that the federal government take further measures to limit the spread of the virus. There is an urgent need to address issues with testing and quarantining at the borders, including falsified COVID-19 testing documentation, travelers opting for fines over complying with quarantine requirements, or travelling via private vehicle/plane to avoid quarantine, among several other areas of concern.”
Both premiers recognize that the transport of essential goods must be maintained at the land border, “While it is crucial that the transport of essential goods is not hindered by border measures, it is likewise crucial that all non-essential travel be curtailed. The introduction of stricter measures for travellers crossing at land borders is a significant step to achieve that goal and ensure that collectively we are doing all we can to protect our citizens.”
The pair ask that these new measures be in place for as long as necessary or until the risk of new variants in Canada has been minimized because of non-essential travel.
Trudeau has said that the federal government is looking at further measures to protect the border, but did not provide specific details. There have been widespread calls on the federal government to limit international flights and now more so specifically from India where a “double mutation” variant of interest known as B1.617 has ravaged the country. There have been 295,041 new infections of the B1.617 variant in India as of Wednesday.
British Columbia is reporting 39 cases of the variant and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is concerned Ottawa is not doing enough to ensure international travellers stay in quarantine for the required 14 days.
You can read the letter here: