Canada to end hotel quarantines for vaccinated residents

Vaccinated Canadians can quarantine at home while waiting for results of test taken on arrival

FILE PHOTO: A patient receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada March 30, 2021. REUTERS/Blair Gable/File Photo
Powered by automated translation

The government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is ending mandatory hotel quarantine for immunised Canadian residents arriving by air.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Canadian citizens, permanent residents and essential workers who are fully vaccinated will no longer have to spend three days isolating in a government-approved hotel.

Instead, they will be permitted to quarantine at home while they wait for the results of a test on arrival.

The exemption will not apply to tourists nor to foreign business travellers who are not essential workers, who must to complete hotel quarantine if arriving by plane.

The government plans to roll out the measures by the first week of July, the health minister said on Wednesday.

“The requirement to stay in a government-authorised hotel is being lifted for people who currently have the right of entry into Canada,” Ms Hajdu told reporters in Ottawa.

“The difference is that fully vaccinated travellers with the right of entry to Canada will be able to forgo staying in a government authorised hotel until such time that they receive their negative day-one test. That’s the big change.”

Pressure is growing on Mr Trudeau to ease Covid restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers in time for the summer season, especially along the US-Canada border.

The two countries have created a working group to determine how to reopen the border safely after beginning discussions on the issue this spring.

To qualify for the exemption, a person must be inoculated with one of the four vaccines approved in Canada: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson.

Radio-Canada was the first to report the policy shift.

The easing of the hotel rule is part of the first phase of the government’s plan to open the border, Ms Hajdu said, speaking alongside Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc.

Further restrictions will be lifted when more Canadians are vaccinated. About 63 per cent of Canadians have received one dose of a vaccine but under 9 per cent have received two shots, data from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation shows.

Travellers must complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine and undergo several tests to be allowed into the country.

Air passengers are required to spend about C$2,000 ($1,656) on a three-day hotel stay while awaiting results for their test on arrival.

Canada closed its borders to non-essential travel in March 2020 to stop the spread of the coronavirus.