Ford calls for mandatory quarantine for USA border travellers, tighter air measures

Ontario is seeking to suspend the arrival of international students in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 Prime Minister

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau removes his mask during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday April 16, 2021.

Trudeau added that Ontario was also seeking to suspend the arrival of worldwide students in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and said Ottawa was working with the province on the issue. He says no other province has made the same request.

Health Canada now classifies the B.1.617 first identified in India as a variant of interest rather than a variant of concern, because the public health agency doesn't have enough data to definitively say this strain is more transmissible or more risky.

Ford didn't stop there, he specified a focus on borders even as he was asked why his government's sick-leave announcement didn't include 10 days of paid sick days, as recommended. The Ford government would have to send a list of institutions that will no longer accept global travellers.

Trudeau also said Ontario had asked Ottawa to suspend the arrival of worldwide students and that federal officials will reach out to work directly with the province.

As the leaders squabbled over whether community or cross-border spread was to blame for the COVID-19 surge, Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will soon be sourced from the US instead of Europe.

"We will never get ahead of this virus if we can't keep these deadly new variants out of our country", he said. You can't have a set of rules for the people who are flying into the airport and another totally set of rules at the land border".

Ford did not address his request to bar the entry of global students at the news conference.

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"We're always looking at doing more enforcement, at stepping up on the penalties on that, and we'll continue to work with the provinces on that", Trudeau told reporters during a briefing in Ottawa on Friday.

At another news conference on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there are already tight controls at Canada's land borders, including tests before and after crossing and the mandatory two-week quarantine.

They say in the past two weeks, over 150,000 people - not including essential commercial truckers - have crossed Canada's land borders.

"We know that importation through the borders is extremely low in terms of cases in the country", he said.

Canada's current travel restrictions require all those arriving from an global destination by plane to quarantine at a designated hotel facility for three days while waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.

Ford says he "will not let this issue go because too much is at stake". He said the measures are effective and have been catching the virus before it spreads.

Later Friday, Ontario's Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission was to submit its final report to the provincial government.

Science experts advising Ontario on the pandemic have said it's important to maintain control over entry into the province as new COVID-19 variants emerge.

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