On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced "increasingly aggressive steps" to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. As part of those new measures, those who present symptoms of the virus will be banned from boarding planes bound for Canada. To Canadians abroad, Trudeau says "it's time to come home."
Those who present symptoms upon boarding will not be permitted on planes entering Canada. Trudeau says the government is ordering airlines to screen passengers who show signs of COVID-19.
Symptoms of the novel coronavirus include fever, shortness of breath and coughing. They may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC.
The PM also announced that Canada is sealing its borders, banning nearly all non-residents from entering the country.
“We will be closing our borders to people who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada,” he said. However, he did note that U.S. citizens are exempt from the ban.
In addition, Trudeau says that only four airports will now be accepting flights from international destinations. The four airports include Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver.
Flights from the U.S., Mexico and within Canada will not be re-routed to these four airports and will fly as scheduled for the time being.
Trudeau notes that this situation has been "evolving extremely rapidly." He says that Canada has been following the best advice of public health officials, explaining why he has not enforced a ban sooner.
The PM explains that Canadians abroad who are unable to get home will have access to government help. Speaking to those already on Canadian soil, he says says that social distancing is our collective responsibility.
"If you are abroad, it's time for you to come home," says Trudeau. "If you have just arrived, you must self isolate for 14 days." Trudeau himself has been in self-isolation for several days after his wife tested positive for COVID-19.
"By staying home, you are protecting those around you. This is an adjustment for all of us. We know that staying home is an important step to protect the community and each other. We have to do it," he continued.