Sat | Mar 28, 2020

Canada imposes mandatory self-isolation for those returning

Published:Wednesday | March 25, 2020 | 12:41 PM
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the coronavirus situation from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Ontario, on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Canada announced Wednesday it is imposing mandatory self-isolation for those returning to the country under the Quarantine Act.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said it will begin at midnight Wednesday and the requirement will be for 14 days.

“It will be a legal obligation for people entering Canada from outside Canada,” Freeland said. “Essential workers are excluded.”

Freeland said penalties will be announced later Wednesday.

More than a million Canadians and permanent residents returned to Canada between March 14 to March 20, according to Canada Border Services.

The mandatory quarantine will not apply to truck drivers and health care workers crossing the border.

Canada relies on cross border trade for essential goods like food.

Canada and the United States already closed the border for all non-essential travel.

Freeland said those who have already returned should be self-isolating at home already.

She said it is critical to protect the health of Canadians and ultimately to ensure that the country’s economic rebound comes more quickly.

“If we can flatten the curve then we can go back to normal life more quickly,” she said.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said on Twitter that the government is making self isolating for returning Canadians and permanent residents mandatory to better protect Canada’s most vulnerable.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced his government will offer $2,000 Canadian (US$1,395) a month, for the next 4 months, for workers who lose their income as a result of the pandemic.

Trudeau said Canada is facing a once in a generation challenge and noted a million Canadians applied for employment insurance in a week.

“Help is on the way,” Trudeau said.

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