Canada is further restricting its borders, imposing fines for violating the Covid test

Ottawa (CNN) – Canada continues to restrict non-essential entry and return travel, even as the government gradually eases Covid-19 restrictions.
After weeks of closures and containment measures, Canada is succeeding in managing the second wave of the virus, but its borders will remain essentially closed for some time, government officials say.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that as of Feb. 15, everyone arriving in Canada by land must present the negative of the Covid-19 test, which was taken within 72 hours before entering the country. Non-essential travelers who cross the mainland to Canada without a negative test can be fined up to Canadian $ 3,000 ($ 2,362).

“You can’t prevent a person standing at a land border crossing from entering Canada because he’s technically already on Canadian soil when they talk to that particular customs officer,” Trudeau said at a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday.

“Therefore, if we do not present a test, apply severe penalties, fines and claims, and provide prompt and full follow-up to make sure they are tested, that they are properly quarantined, do not endanger the safety of other Canadians by clearly , they return home without a negative test, “he said.

Currently, only Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and indispensable travelers are admitted to Canada, although there were some exceptions for compassionate reasons.

In late January, Canada announced that all air passengers would be required to pass a negative PCR-based Covid-19 test before boarding a Canadian flight. Mandatory hotel quarantine has entered into force for incoming travelers, and flights by Canadian carriers to the Caribbean and Mexico have been suspended.

Concerns about the variants have led to travel restrictions

According to Canadian public health officials, while new daily cases of Covid-19 continue to decline and hospitalizations have dropped by about 15% in the past week, new variants and slow vaccine launch could mean the virus could recur.

“I think we’re all concerned about the emergence of new variants and the effects they can have when we work hard to vaccinate everyone as quickly as possible. There are real questions about how these variants will affect the spread and effects of vaccines. “Trudeau said, adding that Canada is therefore further restricting travel.

Canada has only detected a few hundred new Covid-19 variants, but public health officials say there is already evidence that the community is widespread in at least three provinces.

Most Canadian provinces have gradually lifted Covid-19 restrictions in recent weeks, many students have returned to classes in person, and some irrelevant businesses have reopened.

But public health officials remain concerned about the proliferation of Covid-19 variants and the pace of reopenings.

“The risk is very real,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.

“That’s why we need to maintain the strictest vigilance in our public health measures and individual practices,” he said. “This will help prevent these variants from accelerating the epidemic and making it much more difficult to control.”