Travel during the continuing PANDEMIC


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For me there are so many exemptions to the quarantine rules that it is like paying big money to insulate your house but then leaving the windows open all of the time.

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Of course in Feb 2020 the consensus was that curtailing travel was not necessarily effective. Secondly, the objective then (as it should be now) is to keep the hospitals from being overloaded. The int

https://www.jccf.ca/   We will be through the pandemic before this gets to court but the Justice Centre is calling JT on the latest measures.     Federal government faces imminen

You’ve established your priorities over a number of comments on this subject, and unfortunately you seem unable to understand that the attitude you put forward touches a nerve - not just with a few on

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2 hours ago, Fido said:

For me there are so many exemptions to the quarantine rules that it is like paying big money to insulate your house but then leaving the windows open all of the time.

Fair enough, but that doesn’t mean that well heeled geezers who whine about having to provide a negative PCR test upon return to Canada during a pandemic aren’t tiresome crybabies.

 

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A positive COVID-19 test allows travellers to skirt hotel stay: CBSA officerHannah Jackson  4 hrs ago
 
A Canadian Border Services officer is ringing the alarm bells over one of the country’s COVID-19 measures at the border which they say could be allowing cases of the virus to be imported into Canada.
In February, the federal government announced new, more stringent rules for travellers: anyone entering Canada via airplane has to stay in a government-approved accommodation (GAA) – referred to as ‘COVID hotels’ – for three days and must provide a negative COVID-19 test taken 72-hours before departure.
Read more: COVID-19 hospitalizations, ICU admissions growing for younger Canadians amid 3rd wave
Another option for passengers, however, is to provide a positive COVID-19 test taken 14 to 90 days before the aircraft’s departure.
“When there’s changes or new loopholes or exemptions that can be exploited, it takes a bit of time for people to learn about it and learn what to do,” a CBSA officer said. The CBSA officer, whose identity Global News has agreed not to share, expressed concerns that this rule is how Canada could be importing a number of COVID-19 cases into the country.
“So we hadn’t been seeing really any -- I don’t remember seeing any positive tests -- and then when that exemption was kind of known about… then we started noticing people carrying a positive test.”
If a traveller chooses to do the latter, the Health Canada website states that person may “go directly to your place of quarantine and remain there for the full 14-day quarantine period.”
This means those travellers are not required to stay at one of the GAAs, and are therefore not subject to the same scrutiny as those who are forced to stay at the hotels.
Video: Trudeau says passengers arriving on non-direct flights from India will have to provide negative test before departure
In April, the officer said they saw around two to five positive tests from travellers a day, which exempts the person from a stay at one of GAAs.
“I don’t think there’s anyone I’ve worked with that hasn’t received a positive test from someone at some point,” they added.
In an email to Global News, Anne Genier, a spokesperson for Health Canada said the exemption “addresses the potential for residual positive tests given that individuals can continue to test positive up to three months after they have recovered and are no longer infectious.”
“From February 22 to April 28, 2021, a total of 331 travellers have provided proof of a previous positive molecular test taken between 14 and 90 days before departure,” the email read.
Asked whether the agency is concerned that this rule could allow travellers to skirt the rules, Genier said if an air operator suspects someone is providing “false or misleading information with respect to their COVID-19 molecular test, they must report the traveller’s name and flight information to the Minister of Transport as soon as feasible.”
She added that any traveller who provides false or misleading information about their health during screening “could be subject to a penalty of up to $5,000 under the Aeronautics Act.”
But, the CBSA officer said verifying that these positive tests are legitimate is difficult.
“There’s no standard because every clinic that’s issuing a test has a different format,” they said.
CBSA officers try to verify the name, the date, and the test’s result, looking for any obvious errors, but beyond that, verification is nearly impossible, this officer said.
“We’re not in charge of the investigation side of these tests, nor the determination of their validity,” they said. “Those concerns are flagged for public health.”
Read more: Air travel to Canada drops a month after feds implement COVID-19 quarantine hotels
Asked how officials confirm a test presented by a traveller is legitimate, Jacqueline Callin, a spokesperson for CBSA confirmed officers “have the authority to review, challenge and confirm travellers’ statements and direct them to a quarantine officer.”
“(Officers) are trained in examination techniques and use indicators, intelligence, and other information to determine a person’s admissibility to Canada,” Callin wrote. “This includes confirming the documentation required to be found admissible is valid and authentic.”
Callin added, though, “where questions arise with regards to a travellers’ quarantine plan, health status or molecular test documentation, CBSA border services officers refer the traveller to a Public Health Agency of Canada Quarantine officer who will make a determination on the next steps.”
"It is important to note that the CBSA does not issue fines in the enforcement of the Quarantine Act requirements; the decision on whether to pursue any enforcement action related to the public health orders rests with PHAC and/or the police of jurisdiction," the email read.
Between Jan. 7, 2021 and April 22, 2021, the agency intercepted 14 “suspected fraudulent test result documents at airports of entry," Calin said.
However, the CBSA was unable to confirm how many of those were suspected fraudulent positive COVID-19 tests.
Time to shut down all travel?
Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, said allowing those who present a positive test 14-90 days before their date of travel to skip the COVID-19 hotels is “extremely foolish.”
He said anyone with Photoshop could doctor a document to say they have previously had COVID-19.
“So you’re just inviting people to do that,” he said. “Moreover, the presuming variant certainly seems to be very adept at re-infecting, so the fact that someone’s had COVID shouldn’t give them a free pass.”
At the least, all people who enter Canada should be subject to a 14-day stay at a quarantine facility, Furness said, regardless of the COVID-19 test they provide at the airport.
Read more: Despite more testing, less travel needed to stem COVID-19 spread at land border: expert
What Canada really needs to do is “stop travel” altogether, Furness said. “It’s a really simple thing.”
Furness said only Canadian citizens and really essential workers should be allowed to fly into the country, and then should be subject to a mandatory, 14-day quarantine at a supervised facility.
“We’d have plenty of space for them if we had fewer travellers,” he said.
The CBSA officer agreed, saying Canada needs to close this exemption, adding that anyone entering Canada should have to stay at one of the GAA COVID-19 hotels.
“I work at a border that's closed, but I'm busy,” they said. “So that's a concern.”
While the number of people entering Canada has fallen dramatically compared to pre-COVID times, many people are still choosing to travel.
Last year saw an 87.5 per cent decrease in the number of travellers entering Canada compared to 2019, according to CBSA data.
However, the latest data released by the agency said between March 22, 2020, and April 11, 2021, a total of 11,983,716 people had travelled into the country.
Of those, 2,768,055 travellers have entered Canada via airplane.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated that "now is not the time to travel."
Trudeau said, "the only people travelling across our border in any way right now are either permanent citizens or Canadians returning home, essential workers and a limited number of exceptional cases."
Trudeau said his government is "following very closely" the data collected at the border, saying so far there has been an "extremely low and manageable number of cases."
He added, though, that his government is "always looking at doing more enforcement and stepping up on the penalties" at the border. "And we will continue to work with the provinces on that," he said.
Trudeau pointed to the use of rapid COVID-19 tests at airports, saying there are millions of tests available that are being underutilized. 
Data supplied to the Canadian Press by PHAC show that more than 2,000 people returning to Canada since the federal government brought in the hotel quarantines have tested positive for COVID-19.
More than a quarter of them were infected with one of the new, more transmissible variants of concern (VOC).
The numbers showed that between Feb. 22 and April 22, 557 international air travellers tested positive for o
 

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More than 500 air passengers fined for defying hotel quarantine rules after landing in Vancouver and Toronto

Some air passengers who landed in Montreal and Calgary say they have yet to be fined for breaking the rules

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"I think I'm just as safe to get my ass home and sit here for two weeks,"

allan-prout-snowbird-mexico.jpeg

"No visit, no phone call, no nothing."

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Turkish Airlines launches new direct flights from Vancouver to Istanbul

From Daily Hive Vancouver – link to source story – Thanks to JS

Kenneth Chan | May 3 2021

Turkish Airlines launches new direct flights from Vancouver to IstanbulTurkish Airlines’ Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner at Vancouver International Airport. (Turkish Airlines)

In the midst of the current travel climate, Vancouver has just gained a new frequent non-stop flight route to Istanbul.

Turkish Airlines began its three times weekly service from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to Istanbul Airport (IST) yesterday, May 2.

The route departs YVR at 5:25 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, and arrives in IST at 2:55 pm the next day. For return trips, flights leave IST at 2:10 pm on the same days and arrive at YVR at 3:55 pm.

This service uses a Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner with 30 business class and 270 economy class seats.

The airline first announced its plans before the pandemic to launch a Vancouver service, but the scheduled inaugural flights in June 2020 were postponed.

All flights operated by Turkish Airlines were suspended between mid-March until the end of June 2020, with the flag carrier restarting its five weekly flights to Toronto and three weekly flights to Montreal later that summer.

The addition of Vancouver to the airline’s itinerary brings it up to 11 weekly flights to and from Canada.backpack europe

Istanbul, Turkey. (Shutterstock)

Turkish Airlines states it is practicing the latest best practices for health traveller safety.

“Now more so than ever, passenger health and safety is at the forefront of what we do and this is especially important as we continue to support essential travel and cargo transportation during this pandemic,” said İlker Aycı, chairman of the board and executive committee for Turkish Airlines, in a statement.

“As the Turkish national flag carrier, we have specified new criteria and taken new measures in all our procedures together with health authorities.”

While connection possibilities are currently limited due to the global curtailing of flight routes as a result of travel restrictions, the new direct flight to IST provides passengers from YVR with a new way to connect to flights serving other destinations in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. IST is a major international hub with 50 million annual passengers prior to the pandemic.

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15 hours ago, Kargokings said:

Most Canadians favour vaccine proof for domestic travel, sporting events: Nanos survey

Coronavirus: Most Canadians favour vaccine proof for domestic travel, sporting events: Nanos survey | CTV News

I really don't care what "most" Canadians favour. Most Canadians don't have a clue and will happily give up mine and everyone else's rights at the drop of a hat.

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Top Democrat tells Biden administration: Get to work reopening border with Canada

Schumer adds political muscle to push for expanded travel, demands immediate measures

Alexander Panetta · CBC News · Posted: May 06, 2021 12:19 PM ET | Last Updated: 1 hour ago

This item is part of Watching Washington, a regular dispatch from CBC News correspondents reporting on U.S. politics and developments that affect Canadians. 

What's new

There's new political muscle in the United States pushing for a return to more regular travel between Canada and the United States after more than a year of pandemic-related disruptions.

 

The top member of the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer, has written a letter to members of the Biden administration making several demands regarding the border.

He's asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for four things.

One is a detailed Canada-U.S. plan — released as soon as possible — explaining what rules and health-related benchmarks will guide the return to non-essential travel. He said this should add clarity and transparency to a process that's confused and frustrated people.

And in the interim period, he immediately wants to see Canada and the U.S. allow more people to travel. Schumer wants the definition of essential travellers expanded to include vaccinated people who have property, educational, medical or business reasons for crossing the border.

He also wants clarity for boaters and, finally, he wants a safety plan for border agents including access to testing, vaccines and protective equipment.

Why it matters to Canadians and cross-border travellers

Other lawmakers from Schumer's border state of New York have been making similar calls with little sign of progress. Neither national government has made it a priority to articulate a reopening plan for the border.  

But Schumer's entry into the debate is a sign of increased pressure on the national governments to at least begin articulating their longer-term intentions. 

"Having endured one of the deadliest chapters in New York's history, the residents along the border are ready to turn the page and re-establish the familiar links to their loved ones, their property and their prosperity," Schumer's letter said.

"It is now incumbent on the federal government to do their part and aid their desperate desire to fully rebuild and recover. This recovery cannot be done, and I will not rest, until bilateral collaboration to safely reopen the United States and Canadian land border is an utmost priority and a plan for a full reopening is publicly released."

One reason for Schumer's optimism about reopening is the progress the U.S. has made on residents receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Nearly 50 per cent of adults in New York state are fully vaccinated, and indoor dining is expanding this week to near-full capacity in New York City.

The United States remains far ahead of Canada in its share of fully vaccinated residents. However, with vaccine hesitancy becoming an issue in many states, the pace is slowing down, and Canada is steadily catching up in the rate of residents having received a first dose. 

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16 minutes ago, FA@AC said:

That’s a bit much coming from someone who declared that we had shut the economy down over a flu.

Well, since the flu has disappeared and we've now spent ourselves almost to the point of complete financial oblivion, what do you think? Wouldn't change a thing? Everything done so far was right on point?

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1 hour ago, Maverick said:

Well, since the flu has disappeared and we've now spent ourselves almost to the point of complete financial oblivion, what do you think? Wouldn't change a thing? Everything done so far was right on point?

Engaging in hyperbole does nothing to advance your argument.

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34 minutes ago, J.O. said:

Engaging in hyperbole does nothing to advance your argument.

Fair enough Jeff. My point is this, our government has consistently missed the mark at every step and there's no sign of that changing in any meaningful way.

This virus is definitely more dangerous than the seasonal flu but at what point ($) do we throw in the towel? I'm not advocating a full open up at all but we need to (and still haven't) properly protected the elderly and the immuno-compromised until such time that they can get their vaccines. This is still a 99+% survivable virus. Yes there are and will continue to be people more adversely affected than others. That's the way it goes even with the seasonal flu.

The country can't stay locked down for another year.

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55 COVID-19-positive flights arrive in Alberta in last 2 weeks

By Mia Holowaychuk  Global News

Posted May 6, 2021 4:27 pm

 Updated May 6, 2021 4:36 pm

There were 55 flights arriving in Alberta with confirmed COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days, according to the government of Canada. Of those, 49 were domestic flights and six were international flights.

On April 30, three flights arrived with positive cases, marking the last recorded date that infected flights have entered the province thus far. Flights and possible rows that are considered close contacts are as shown:

  • WestJet flight WS231, Halifax to Calgary (YYC) Rows 13 to19.
  • WestJet flight WS3136, Fort McMurray to Calgary (YYC) Rows 15 to 21.
  • WestJet flight WS663, Toronto to Calgary (YYC) Rows 13 to 19.

The government of Canada states that if you have recently returned to the country, you must quarantine for 14 days starting from your arrival date, regardless if you are feeling symptoms or not. If you are feeling symptoms, you must continue to quarantine and get tested immediately.

These planes were carrying individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and may have been infectious to others at the time of travel. Twenty-nine per cent of infected Canadian domestic flights have had positive cases arriving in Alberta.

 

 

These airlines include Air Canada, West Jet, Swoop, Northwest Air and Air Canada. Positive domestic flights from April 21 to May 6 include arrivals from Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Fort McMurray, Hay River, Grand Prairie and the Vancouver area (including Abbotsford). These flights have carried a COVID-19-positive traveller in at least one row of the flight.

Ten per cent of all COVID-19-positive international flights have arrived in Alberta. Flight arrivals from April 21 to May 6 include those from Dallas, Amsterdam and Denver. New travel restrictions implemented by the government of Canada state that all individuals that are planning to travel must present a negative test taken within 72 hours before boarding.

The government of Canada also states that any travellers who show any COVID-19-related symptoms such as coughing, fever or runny nose will not be permitted to travel into or throughout Canada. There have still been flights carrying individuals with positive cases. As of May 6, there have been 24,156 active cases, which is higher than any other province or territory per capita to date.

Although travel restrictions such as avoiding non-essential travel and a mandatory two-week quarantine when arriving into the country have been implemented by the government of Canada, provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan do not enforce any further restrictions related to travel.

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1 hour ago, Kargokings said:

Only if ICUs and medical staff can keep up..... and of course the death rate is quite different.

Mortality for COVID-19 appears higher than for influenza, especially seasonal influenza. While the true mortality of COVID-19 will take some time to fully understand, the data we have so far indicate that the crude mortality ratio (the number of reported deaths divided by the reported cases) is between 3-4%, the infection mortality rate (the number of reported deaths divided by the number of infections) will be lower. For seasonal influenza, mortality is usually well below 0.1%. However, mortality is to a large extent determined by access to and quality of health care. 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Similarities and differences with influenza (who.int)

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5 hours ago, Maverick said:

Fair enough Jeff. My point is this, our government has consistently missed the mark at every step and there's no sign of that changing in any meaningful way.

This virus is definitely more dangerous than the seasonal flu but at what point ($) do we throw in the towel? I'm not advocating a full open up at all but we need to (and still haven't) properly protected the elderly and the immuno-compromised until such time that they can get their vaccines. This is still a 99+% survivable virus. Yes there are and will continue to be people more adversely affected than others. That's the way it goes even with the seasonal flu.

The country can't stay locked down for another year.

Maverick....tread carefully. I suggested that vaccination hesitancy should be overcome by "rewards"; I expressed my objection to the Cdn hotel quarantine program; and, I had the temerity to suggest that Canada's response to the virus with untargeted lockdowns and restrictions was ill-advised.

I was labelled a fish monger ( my choice) and a self-indulged whiney old geezer.

Since my impugned post(s), our government has expressed its interest in a vaccination passport supported by 73% of our population ....a "reward"( notwithstanding JO's opinion); an opinion in "The Atlantic" argued in support of targeted restrictions; and, the Crowne Plaza at YYZ ( a quarantine hotel) reported that 13 employees were infected in an " outbreak".

Folks...please understand that the expression of an opinion is exactly that....an expression of opinion and NOT  a declaration of faith. Opinions can ( and should) change based upon the revelation or appreciation of additional facts.

Please don't assume that when a poster expresses opposition to a government policy, they are only seeking to advance their own personal interests. 

Sometimes....rarely, perhaps....one's personal interests and desirable governmental policy coincide.

And sometimes, Lord only knows wherein your personal interests reside let alone those who are so quick to discern and deride.

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Canada's not on Britain's latest quarantine-free travel list

Sarah Young and Costas Pitas Published Friday, May 7, 2021 1:02PM EDTLast Updated Friday, May 7, 2021 1:29PM EDT 

LONDON -- The British government on Friday announced a "first tentative step" toward resuming international travel, saying U.K. citizens will be able to travel to countries including Portugal, Iceland and Israel later this month without having to quarantine on their return.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the country’s current blanket ban on overseas vacations is being replaced by a traffic-light system classifying countries as low, medium or high risk.

The "green list" of 12 low-risk territories also includes Gibraltar, the Faroe Islands and the Falkland Islands — but not major vacation destinations for Britons such as France, Spain and Greece. Britons traveling to those countries, including Canada, will have to self-isolate for 10 days upon their return.

All but essential travel remains barred to countries with severe outbreaks, including India and South Africa, and people returning from them face 10 days of mandatory hotel quarantine. On Friday the government added Nepal, the Maldives and Turkey to that list.

Friday’s decision throws into doubt fans’ ability to travel to the Champions League soccer final between two English teams — Manchester City and Chelsea — which is due to be played in Istanbul on May 29.

The changes take effect May 17, the next date on the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. Pubs and restaurants in England can reopen indoor areas that same day, and venues including theaters and cinemas can open to limited audiences.

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