Canada

Ottawa to step up monitoring of post-vacation travellers: Quebec health minister

MONTREAL —
Quebec’s health minister says Ottawa will be sending extra resources to keep tabs on travellers entering the country via the province, calling the federal government’s tightened travel rules “great news.”

Federal Health Minister Patty Hadju “confirms to me that more federal government resources will be deployed quickly to carry out checks on travellers, at airports and during quarantine,” wrote her Quebec counterpart, Christian Dubé, in a statement sent to CTV News on Wednesday.

Dubé took much of the credit for the Trudeau government’s decision, announced earlier today, to require negative COVID-19 tests from incoming travellers.

Both Quebec and Ontario had been pressuring the federal government — which controls airports — for tighter rules.

“The federal government is implementing our demand to be tested before flying home,” said Dubé in the statement, originally in French, emailed by a spokesperson.

“This is great news, and we have to move quickly.”

He said he continues to talk with Hadju and noted that she said more help is on the way, though he didn’t specify what that additional help may look like beyond mentioning check-ins on quarantine and at airports.

“We are all working in the same direction to ensure a safe return and rigid monitoring of the [14-day quarantine] of travellers returning to Quebec,” he said.

One Quebec provincial politician is facing backlash for travelling to Barbados over Christmas, while another went to Peru, though his party insists it was for a legitimate personal reason — to finalize immigration documents for his husband.

Dubé said in his statement that it’s crucial for all Quebecers to avoid travel right now. The province recorded a new record on Wednesday with 2,511 new cases of the virus.

“I would like to reiterate that Quebecers are asked not to travel outside the country,” Dubé wrote.

“We have community transmission that remains strong, and the number of hospitalizations continues to increase. The only way not to hit a wall in January is to follow public health guidelines.”

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