Canada suspending flights to and from Caribbean, Mexico

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Returning passengers will be required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and quarantine at their own expense at a hotel until their results are in.about 4 hours ago By: Leith DunickUpdated about 3 hours ago

THUNDER BAY – The federal government is banning travel to southern destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico until at least April 30.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced that major airlines, including Air Canada, Sunwing, WestJet and Air Transat have agreed to suspend service to the affected area, starting on Sunday. Those currently on vacation in the Caribbean and Mexico will be contacted by the airlines to organize return flights ahead of the deadline.

In addition to the flight being cancelled, international flights arriving in Canada will only be permitted to land at four airports – Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

Passengers will face additional testing requirements upon arriving in Canada, and it won’t be cheap, the prime minister said.about:blank

“In addition to the pre-boarding test we already require, as soon as possible in the coming weeks we will be introducing mandatory PCR testing at the airport for people returning to Canada. Travelers will then have to wait for up to three days at an approved hotel, for their test results, at their own expense, which is expected to be more than $2,000,” Trudeau said in his daily media conference.

Trudeau said travelers will have to take a private test, noting the federal government doesn’t want to interfere in the public testing process.

“Of course if there’s a negative result after two days, travelers will be able to return home,” Trudeau said, adding they will still have to wait out the mandatory 14-day quarantine required of international travelers returning to Canada.

Trudeau said COVID-19 variants are having an influence on the new regulations and that anyone who tests positive will be taken to a government quarantine facility. 

He pointed to Barrie, Ont., where the variant was quick to take hold. 

“One single case of the variant spread very quickly … so we’re doing everything to prevent the spread of these variants,” Trudeau said. 

The prime minister also said he now expects there will be a delay in the arrival of the next shipment of the Moderna vaccine, which will drop to 78 per cent of expected levels. Shipment levels should return to normal after that. 

In a release, WestJet said it has suspended flights to southern destinations and will work to bring home passengers already in troplcal locations over the next two weeks. 

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