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Scott Thompson: What took so long to quarantine Canada’s arriving travellers?

Coronavirus outbreak: Freeland says travellers coming back to Canada will be forced to isolate
WATCH: Anyone returning to Canada from abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic will no longer just be asked to self-isolate upon their return — that order is now mandatory.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, the Canadian government has invoked the Quarantine Act, requiring all travellers arriving in Canada from other countries to stay isolated for 14 days.

It’s now mandatory, says Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and went into effect first thing Thursday morning.

So what the heck took so long? Wasn’t March Break over last week?

READ MORE: Travellers coming back to Canada now mandated to isolate, feds say

Travellers are now mandated not to stop anywhere or to take public transit, and instead go directly home into self quarantine for two weeks. If you don’t, you’re breaking the law.

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The details around penalties and enforcement are coming, but this does not affect other reasons for crossing the border — for example, for essential work.

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The change is a result of several reports of vacationers returning home and not heeding the only advice from the prime minister on Friday — to self-distance and responsibly isolate.

Social media lit up with examples of those returning, even from areas considered hot spots, and flying through customs without questions or any guidance regarding COVID-19 and straight into the general public.

READ MORE: Canada will use ‘every measure in our toolbox’ to prevent COVID-19 spread, minister says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s tone changed on Monday after he saw the results of his diluted mixed messaging over the previous weekend.

Perhaps the prime minister should take less time to scold people for not hearing the information he never gave and spend more time actually telling Canadians what they must do.

After all, a prime minister must be able to lead through more than sunny ways.