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COVID-19: Montreal to deploy resources to Trudeau International airport

Travellers arriving in the province do not appear to be taking Quebec's order requiring two weeks of isolation seriously

March 16, 2020  The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Montreal deployed resources to Trudeau International Airport on March 16 to urge people returning to the country to self-isolate as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province continues to rise.

Dr. Mylene Drouin, Montreal’s director of public health, said international travellers will have to go past civil security and public health employees from the city before leaving the airport.

The measures are needed because travellers arriving in the province do not appear to be taking Quebec’s order requiring two weeks of isolation seriously, Drouin said.

“Each time a traveller does not self-isolate, it’s a breach that the virus can get through into the community,” she told reporters.

Travellers will be given an information sheet and asked to note their symptoms and take their temperature twice a day during the isolation period.

Public health officials have also made a request to federal government for gloves and thermometers to hand out to returning travellers.

Provincial health authorities said March 16 they had two more cases confirmed — both in Montreal — bringing the provincewide tally to 41. Some 1,834 people remain under investigation.

Drouin said isolation must be put in place for all returning travellers.

“That’s why we’re asking friends, family, colleagues to support people who’ll be in self-isolation or confinement for 14 days because they’ve travelled abroad,” Drouin said. “If you have someone coming (home) from a trip, help them, get them their groceries and medication, call them everyday.”

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said travellers must be made aware that upon arriving in Canada, they cannot go to work, school or anywhere else for two weeks.

Plante said she would have liked to see a different approach from the federal government, but after speaking with Transport Minister Marc Garneau on March 15, she says federal officials seem to be ready to improve their response.

She described the city’s measure as a second layer of precaution.

“I’m not so much about what could have been done as what can be done now,” Plante said, saying the message is that self-isolating isn’t simply a suggestion.

“It’s actually essential if we want to contain the virus, so having public health, public security agents there will send a very strong message.”