Quarantine measures extended until June 21, but “stay tuned” says Transport Minister Alghabra

Quarantine measures extended until June 21, but “stay tuned” says Transport Minister Alghabra

OTTAWA — The federal government has extended temporary travel restrictions, including Canada’s hotel quarantine, by another month, until June 21, 2021.

Citing an elevated risk of imported COVID-19 cases into Canada, the government is extending the temporary travel measures restricting entry into Canada by foreign nationals until June 21. It is also extending the following measures: mandatory pre-arrival, on-arrival and post-arrival testing requirements; mandatory hotel stopover for air travellers; and mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, May 21, 2021

Earlier this week the government also extended the Canada-U.S. border closure, also to June 21. The extension dates have been coordinated for several months now.

In comments on May 21 at a federal ministers and health officials COVID-19 update, when asked about the potential for required vaccinations for airline flight crew, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra repeated the federal government’s messaging that “now is not the time to travel.”

Then Alghabra added: “Stay tuned … we’re going to have new announcements, new measures” as Canada begins to reopen to international travel.

Earlier in the week Alghabra said he couldn’t give a timeline for reopening Canada to international travel, however he has confirmed that work on travel’s restart is underway.

On May 11 Alghabra said: “The work on restarting the travel sector has started, it’s ongoing as we speak … I know it’s frustrating for many industry players and operators. I understand the anxiety and the sense of urgency. We want to restart. The challenge remains the timing. All I can say is, these measures are temporary. We’re going to see a gradual easing of these measures.”

INDIA & PAKISTAN FLIGHT BAN EXTENDED

The federal government is also extending its flight restrictions and third country pre-departure testing requirements for India and Pakistan until June 21, 2021. Passengers who depart India or Pakistan to Canada, via an indirect route, must obtain a COVID-19 pre-departure test from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.

Canada first announced a ban on flights from India and Pakistan on April 23, for 30 days, in response to record-breaking cases of COVID-19 in both countries.

“These ongoing measures are in place to help protect Canadians and manage the elevated risk of imported cases of COVID-19 and variants of concern into Canada during a time of increasing pressure on our healthcare system,” said Alghabra.

On the extension of testing and quarantine measures at the border, Minister of Health Patty Hajdu also doubled down on the importance of protecting Canadians.

“As our healthcare system grapples with the third wave of the pandemic, our government will continue to adjust its response to COVID-19,” she said. “I encourage all Canadians to get vaccinated when it’s their turn and to keep following local public health measures.”

Canada’s hotel quarantine and pre-arrival PCR testing requirement was first announced in late January, along with the temporary suspension of all winter sun flights for Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Transat.