Canada on Saturday announced new restrictions on domestic travel being implemented to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“As of Monday at noon, people showing any signs whatsoever of COVID-19 will be denied boarding on all domestic flights and intercity passenger trains,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said from Ottawa.
“Some industries are not under federal jurisdiction but we do recommend – and, in fact, we are putting rules in place – to make sure people do not take any trips anywhere if they have COVID-19 symptoms,” Mr. Trudeau added. “If they have COVID-19 symptoms, we were asking them to stay home. But now they won’t even be able to take a plane or a train.”
Canada’s federal transportation department added on its website that operators of airlines and intercity passenger trains will be required under the restrictions to screen passengers for COVID-19 symptoms before allowing them to board.
Airline and rail operators will be required to refuse passengers exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, Transport Canada said on its website.
The measures will apply to flights within or departing from Canada, explained Transport Canada. They will not apply to commuter trains, the agency said.
“We recognize the importance of the continued movement of goods and the ongoing delivery of essential services in Canada’s response to COVID‑19, while taking necessary measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians,” Marc Garneau, Canada’s transportation minister, said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is another step in the right direction and will ensure alignment on a national level.”
Mr. Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, announced the measures from outside Rideau Cottage in the nation’s capital, a historic residence where he and his family recently spent 14-days in self-isolation after his wife tested positive for COVID-19.
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is recovering from COVID-19 and “feeling great,” the prime minister said Saturday.
“My family is doing well. My kids and myself — we’re all doing well,” said Mr. Trudeau.
“We continue to follow the direct advice of health professionals on what next steps are. But like I’ve said, We’ve asked people to stay at home and work from home as much as possible — not go out if they shouldn’t, don’t have to — and that certainly is something that we’re doing and encouraging everyone to do,” Mr. Trudeau added.
The Canadian government has documented more than 4,600 cases of COVID-19 within the country as of Friday evening.
“We are not out of the woods yet,” Mr. Trudeau said Saturday. “People have to continue self-isolating, they have to continue staying away from one another so that we can really contain the transmission. We will have to continue these measures for quite a while, and that is what will keep us safe.”
Worldwide, around 650,000 people have contracted the disease, according to data maintained by Johns Hopkins University, including over 115,000 in the U.S.
More than 30,000 people around the world have died from COVID-19 since it was discovered in late December, according to the university.