Coronavirus: Travellers coming back to Canada will be mandated to isolate, feds say

Anyone returning to Canada from abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic will no longer just be asked to self-isolate upon their return — that order is now mandatory.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said during an appearance at the Senate on Wednesday that the government is done asking those returning to Canada from other countries to respect the request to go directly home and stay there for 14 days.

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She is now invoking the Quarantine Act to force them to do so.

The move comes after repeated reports of travellers, including Canadians rushing to return as the border closed and commercial travel options disappeared, stopping to pick up groceries or do errands after they had crossed the border back into Canada.

It also comes after Global News reported that border officials allowed a Markham woman back into the country who was so ill with coronavirus that she died within hours of re-entry.

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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said that mandatory isolation will apply to all travellers, including those from the U.S., but that it will not apply to those deemed to be doing “essential work.”

“It will, from midnight tonight, be a legal obligation of people entering Canada from outside Canada to self-isolate for 14 days,” she said.

“In terms of the specific penalties and enforcement mechanisms, we will be giving you more information later today.”

More to come.

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