Canadians still planning a winter vacation will face stricter travel rules aimed at keeping new variants of the coronavirus from entering the country.
Starting next week, all international flights will be routed through four airports: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday.
Trudeau said all travellers to Canada will have to quarantine at an approved hotel for up to three days at their own expense while they await results of a COVID-19 test taken at the airport.
He said that requirement, set to take effect “in the coming weeks,” could cost each traveller more than $2,000 and is in addition to the already mandatory pre-departure COVID-19 test.
Those with positive tests will isolate in designated government facilities, while those with negative results can serve the rest of the two-week quarantine at home.
In addition, Canada’s main airlines have agreed to suspend flights to Mexico and the Caribbean until the end of April to discourage Canadians from flying south for spring break, starting Sunday.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford welcomed the new measures and announced that, starting at noon Monday, all international travellers arriving at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport will be tested for COVID-19.
This comes a day after the province’s health advisers warned that a highly contagious variant of COVID-19 first identified in the U.K. could become the dominant strain of the virus in the province by March.
What’s happening in Canada
WATCH | Ottawa brings in new quarantine rules to discourage international travel:
As of 6 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had reported 770,793 cases of COVID-19, with 55,313 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 19,801.
Ontario reported 1,837 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and 58 additional deaths. Hospitalizations stood at 1,291, a provincial dashboard said, with 360 patients listed as being in Ontario’s intensive care units.
WATCH | How delays of Canada’s vaccine shipments impact provincial rollouts:
In Quebec, health officials reported 1,295 new cases on Friday and 50 more deaths, nine of which occurred in the last 24 hours.
Manitoba reported 157 new cases and three new deaths on Friday, with more than half of the new cases in the province’s Northern Health Region.
A new public health order took effect in the province at 12:01 a.m. Friday, requiring most people travelling to Manitoba for non-essential reasons to self-isolate for two weeks.
Saskatchewan reported 328 new cases and seven more deaths on Friday. The provincial government also announced it was extending its temporary relief program for small businesses affected by pandemic restrictions through January.
Alberta reported 543 new cases and 14 new deaths on Friday, as Premier Jason Kenney said the province will begin easing restrictions on Feb. 8, with restaurants and gyms being the first businesses to benefit.
British Columbia reported 514 new cases and five new deaths on Friday. Health officials also said all residents of long-term care facilities have now been offered a COVID-19 vaccine.
In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick reported 16 new cases and one additional death on Friday, as Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, warned of an impending third wave of the pandemic that will be “much worse” than the first or second because of new variants.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported four new cases, while Nova Scotia reported one new case. P.E.I. did not provide an update.
In the North, the three territories all reported no new cases on Friday.
Here’s a look at what’s happening across the country:
What’s happening around the world
As of Saturday morning, more than 102.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with 56.5 million of those considered recovered or resolved, according to a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at just over 2.2 million.
In the United States, New York City’s famed restaurant scene will re-open for indoor dining on Valentine’s Day, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday.
The move to allow restaurant service on Feb. 14 comes as news that a new single-shot vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson is 85 per cent effective in protecting people against the most severe forms of the disease and 66 per cent effective overall in preventing moderate to severe illness.
The company said earlier this month that it’s on track to roll out the vaccine in March.
WATCH | Johnson & Johnson vaccine appears 66% effective in global trial:
In Asia, Vietnam approved the use of the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, the health ministry said late Friday.
The country has so far been highly successful in combating the novel coronavirus, recording just 1,739 cases and 35 deaths since the disease was first detected a year ago.
In Africa, Algeria launched its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Saturday in the town where the country’s first case of infection with the coronavirus was confirmed last March.
WATCH | EU approves AstraZeneca vaccine amid supply shortages, delays:
A 65-year-old retiree got the first shot of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccine at a hospital in the town of Blida. Vaccines will start being administered in all regions of the country on Sunday. The campaign is set to start with health-care workers, the elderly and other vulnerable populations.