Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has declared that any Canadian who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will be denied access to domestic flights and trains. The measure comes as the coronavirus pandemic continues its global spread, with a current death toll of around 29,000.
According to CTV News, Trudeau stated that the latest actions aim to stem the virus spreading between provinces and cities in the Great White North. Currently, there have been just shy of 5,000 cases in the country, with a reported 55 deaths. However, the spread of the disease has varied throughout the different regions.
For example, the province of Quebec can lay claim to over 40 percent of cases in the country, accounting for 2,021 confirmed patients (per The Government of Canada). Meanwhile, the far-north territory of Nunavut does not have a single case, and its neighbors the Northwest Territory and Yukon have just five altogether.
Though residents will not be able to take flights or trains between provinces and territories, Trudeau stopped short at closing the borders between the regions all-together. However, Trudeau added that this could change, depending on how the crisis worsens.
“We will make those decisions as they’re needed,” the prime minister told reporters outside his home on Saturday.
“Right now, we’re not looking at closing provincial borders,” he added.
This means Canadians can still drive across the country in their cars, as well as use bus lines, which are not under the purview of the federal government. However, the prime minister emphasized that he hoped citizens would avoid buses to help stem the virus’s growth.
Though Trudeau did not elaborate on exactly how train and airline personal would enforce the new regulations, he did mention “new tools” that will help them turn away sick passengers.
“New tools are being given to rail and airline companies to make sure people don’t travel,” he said, per Neo Media. He also referenced “passenger awareness,” suggesting that fellow travelers might have a role in policing the transportation system.
“We don’t want to take steps that we don’t have to take. But we are still looking at all the options and will do so if necessary,” Trudeau added.
Already, the country has closed its border with the United States — banning all but “essential” travel between the two nations.
Trudeau himself remains in self-isolation at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa. The prime minister’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this March after spending time in the United Kingdom for a speaking engagement.