In an effort to mitigate virus spread and reiterate that no one in Canada should be travelling right now, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has just introduced some more extreme measures at the Canadian border, including one that will see incoming passengers pay a steep bill for a hotel stay while they await COVID-19 test results.
Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat, meanwhile, have committed to suspending flights to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico starting Sunday.
Arrangements will be made to help Canadians now vacationing down south to get home.
"We will also, in the coming weeks, be requiring nonessential travellers to show a negative test before entry at the land border with the U.S., and we are working to stand up additional testing requirements for land travel", Trudeau said.
A big trial underway in the United States is supposed to provide more clarity, but Morrissette said Friday that trial won't report findings until March and Health Canada's team has decided it has all the clinical data it needs.
Trudeau said containing the pandemic will depend on an array of measures, including continued public health measures and vaccines for all, as soon as possible. Most permitted travel is exclusively reserved for Canadian citizens and permanent residents only. Non-essential travel between the two countries remains closed, with the ban recently extended until 21 February.
"The Canadians argue that they are taxpayers who support the economy five months of the year and they too should be available for the vaccine - so why not", Firestone said.
Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said the government needs to be more transparent about its vaccine contracts.
As of Friday, the country recorded more than 769,000 cases of coronavirus and 19,000 deaths.
The two people have no connection to each other and no history of travel to countries where the variant has been detected, indicating there has likely already been local spread of the strain within the country. The newly imposed travel provisions are in place until April 30.
He insisted the government was committed to the safe restart of the tourism sector, when conditions improve.
Earlier today Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced his own plan for testing those who arrive at the airport.
"We're doing this to keep as many Canadians alive and healthy as we can through this pandemic", he said.