Domestic travel by plane or train will soon be off the table for anyone exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Saturday, as part of additional measures to slow the spread of the virus across the country.
The restrictions come into effect at noon Monday and apply to anyone showing signs of the virus, which include a cough, fever and difficulty breathing.
Those travellers will no longer be able to travel by air or rail between provinces and cities anywhere in Canada.
“It will be important for operators of airlines and trains to ensure that people who are exhibiting symptoms do not board those trains,” Trudeau said during his daily address to Canadians. “It will be a Transport Canada rule that will be enforced, but at the same time, we’re telling people stay home if it’s not absolutely essential for you to travel.”
The prime minister added that the federal government would be providing airlines and rail companies with “further tools” to bar those showing symptoms from getting on planes and trains, but did not explain what those enhanced screening measures would look like.
The ban, Trudeau said, does not apply to interprovincial bus travel, which does not fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
Move follows Friday’s announcement for small businesses
On Friday, the federal government announced more help for business owners in an effort to prevent further layoffs resulting from the effects of COVID-19, including a 75 per cent wage subsidy and guaranteed interest-free loans.
The prime minister’s remarks come after his own 14-day period of self-isolation concluded this week, though Trudeau said that, on the advice of medical professionals, he plans to continue working from home.
“The doctors continue to tell me to stay, to tell us to stay in self-isolation. But at the same time, we’re asking Canadians to work from home, wherever possible,” Trudeau said Friday. “We’re asking people to stay self-isolated as much as possible, to not go out if not necessary. And I am happy to continue to do this.”
His wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, received a positive COVID-19 test result earlier this month following a visit to London, England.
Caseload grows across the country
The number of cases in Canada grew to 4,757 on Friday, though there is some evidence that Canadians staying at home and practising safe distancing is working to contain the spread.
British Columbia’s health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said yesterday that according to modelling in the province, physical distancing restrictions are starting to slow the spread of new COVID-19 cases.
“I’m trying not to over-call it, but I do believe we’ve seen a flattening, a falling-off of that curve,” Henry said.
As of Friday, Quebec had the highest caseload in the country at just over 2,000 cases — more than double Ontario’s 993 cases.
Nunavut remains the only region in the country without a reported case of COVID-19.