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Canada has seen a significant uptick in the number of people entering the country at airports and across the border with the United States, despite restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) figures show the number of international air travellers arriving at airports rose to 30,000 per week in the second half of June, after averaging 15,000 a week in April and May. The figures include flights from the U.S.
CBSA figures show around 135,000 people have entered Canada since May 25 after arriving on international flights. Of the total, 66,000 were neither Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
The number crossing the Canada-U.S. land border has also increased, to 170,000 a week in the second half of June, from 115,000 in April and May. The figures include commercial and non-commercial traffic.
Now the federal government is moving to increase the number of public health officials at airports to conduct coronavirus screening.
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Canada’s federal government imposed sweeping international travel restrictions and closed the border with the U.S. in mid-March as it took drastic measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Citizens, permanent residents, those registered under the Indian Act and protected people can travel to Canada.
Exemptions were quickly put in place for:
- Certain temporary foreign workers crucial to Canada’s supply chain.
- Certain international students approved on or before March 18, 2020.
- New permanent residents approved on or before March 18, 2020
A further exemption introduced in June saw immediate family members of citizens and permanent residents allowed to travel, provided they are staying in Canada for at least 15 days.
Anyone travelling to Canada must quarantine for 14 days on arrival and be able to present an acceptable quarantine plan to Canada Border Services Agency officers on arrival.
The measures meant a reduction in the number of permanent resident admissions to 4,140 in April 2020, compared to 25,930 in February 2020 and 26,900 in April 2019.