Manitobans who return home from travelling anywhere, including western Canada, will soon have to self-isolate for two weeks.
Premier Brian Pallister made the announcement Tuesday, urging people once again to not travel unnecessarily during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
He didn’t immediately confirm when the public health orders would come into effect but the province later said it would be Friday.
“Anyone returning to Manitoba, including western Canada, must self-isolate for 14 days.”
Travelers returning to Manitoba from eastern Canada have previously had to self-isolate for two weeks, but western Canada and parts of Northern Ontario were exempt.
“The public health orders will be amended on Jan. 29 to specify that anyone entering Manitoba from anywhere in Canada will be required to self-isolate for 14 days,” said the province.
“This includes those entering from northern and Western Canada, and from west of Terrace Bay in Ontario, which under previous health orders did not require self-isolation.”
A spokesperson for the province said exemptions will be firmed up later this week for those who have property in Ontario cottage country and for people living in Kenora.
“Further details about border town travel and those travelling to neighboring communities where they own property will be available later in the week when the formal orders are released,” she said.
However, Pallister said with the rise of variants for the COVID-19 virus, some of which appear to be more contagious and deadlier than the previous strains, it was important to try to keep the variants out of the province.
“These measures are to protect us against a more deadly version of the coronavirus,” said Pallister. “We need to be very, very careful now.
“They are, according to initial research, potentially up to 30 percent more fatal. And more transferable as well,” he added.
“It’s resulted in a dramatic surge in many other jurisdictions … and we are now seeing cases in Canada, including a tragic outbreak in Ontario in a seniors’ home.”
Pallister also called on the federal government to increase restrictions on international borders to help stop the spread of current variants and future ones.
“We’re urging them to enforce and step up, frankly,” said Pallister. “We don’t want them bringing COVID or a variant with them.
“Premiers have been urging the federal government around this for some time, and I’m pleased to hear there may be some action around this,” he said.
“These issues were discussed last week with the prime minister and I want to add Manitoba’s voice to the voices of other premiers who have spoken in support of the moves that need to be made to make sure that protection is real.”
Canadians should cancel any non-essential travel plans they might have, whether it’s abroad or even between provinces, as new restrictions are on the way, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.
“The bad choices of a few will never be allowed to put everyone else in danger,” he said at a news conference outside his Rideau Cottage home in Ottawa.
Trudeau said while the number of new cases linked to travel remains low, a single case imported from abroad is a case too many and the federal government is actively looking at ways to tighten the border.
Canada has had a ban on non-essential travel into the country by anyone who isn’t a citizen or permanent resident since last March but it can’t as easily bar the flow of Canadians in and out of the country.
–With files from the Canadian PressView link »