End of April 2021
A HALT TO AIR TRAVEL
It took too long to get to this point and it should have been done earlier because the variants are already here but I will say that Prime Minister Trudeau and his government have done the right thing.
They’ve banned direct flights from India and Pakistan and put in place additional steps for anyone coming from those countries trying to get to Canada through connecting flights.
Now, if the government truly wants to protect Canada, they should make other changes to the quarantine rules and be ready to move quickly once a new hot spot emerges.
First, the 30-day suspension of flights is a smart move.
New variants can spread even faster than before and our health care system is feeling even more pressure than ever before.
Direct flights are banned and anyone coming from either of those countries via an indirect route will be required to obtain a negative Covid-19 test at their last point of departure to Canada.
Depending on the route, that could mean leaving the airport and being subject to local quarantine rules. It’s a move that doesn’t stop indirect travel but does make it more difficult.
Even while still claiming that travel accounts for 2% of Covid-19 cases in Canada, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said that flights from India accounted for 20% of incoming flights but 50% of the passengers testing positive.
There have been 44 Covid-19 positive flights from India between April 1-19 – an average of 2.3 flights per day.
Those are the people testing positive at the border, then there are the people who test positive once they’re at home and this is where the government needs to fix the quarantine system.
Each person landing on a plane from outside of Canada needs to quarantine for 14 days, including up to three days at a government-approved hotel.
What few people realize is that many people spend the rest of their quarantine with a whole house full of people who don’t stay inside for those two weeks but instead continue to go to school or work.
There are stories of people returning from trips to India and spending their quarantine period in a multi-generational home of 10 or more people and when Covid-19 strikes, the whole house gets it.
Upon arrival at the airport from an international flight, all that is asked of the arriving passenger is whether they have a quarantine plan in place. No more, no less!
Punjabi language journalist Gurbhel Sidhu recently revealed the story of a young woman arriving at Pearson from India and going to her home where 13 other people reside.
She tested negative when she landed and during her hotel stay as well but tested positive once at home and spread the virus to her roommates.
Each of those infected people, in turn, has been out in the community spreading Covid-19 but none of those resulting cases will be counted as resulting from travel, they will be counted as community spread.
The Trudeau Liberals claim to have the toughest border restrictions but clearly don’t.
They claim travel isn’t increasing cases and yet more variants continue to show up from all over the world and as a result, India and Pakistan are on pause for 30 days.
If you read what is now going on in India, is truly disheartening.
Numerous days last week, the country’s overnight infection total was higher than any recorded anywhere in the world since the pandemic began last year, at 332,730.
Some 2,263 died, with over 300 of those in Delhi alone — figures that are almost certainly conservative.
The hospitals in India are battling a lack of space and now a shortage of Oxygen.
Due to an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases in Delhi, all the hospitals are overburdened.
Let’s hope it’s not a case of too little too late when it comes to the Canadian government’s travel ban.
There will be other hot spots, there will be loopholes the government can’t control and they need to take steps, like tightening up quarantine rules if we’re going to stop importing cases from around the world.
This week shows that Canadians aren’t willing to be locked down at home while the border is wide open – and belatedly, the government has heard the message
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