More than 100 travellers arriving in B.C. have refused mandatory hotel stay
VANCOUVER -- As British Columbia struggled to keep its COVID-19 case numbers under control, more than 100 international travellers flat-out refused the federal requirement to quarantine at an authorized hotel upon their arrival in the province.
That's according to numbers from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which told CTV News that 106 people have been ticketed for failing to follow the hotel quarantine law since it came into effect less than two months ago.
Each was dinged $3,000 for their refusal, the government said.
Canada introduced its mandatory hotel quarantine policy on Feb. 22, requiring incoming travellers to take a COVID-19 test then stay at an approved accommodation while they await the results. The purpose was to help contain the spread of the disease, which has since erupted into a record-breaking third wave of infections in B.C.
"Each positive case identified from international travel reduces the risk of onward community transmission in Canada," PHA spokesperson Tammy Jarbeau said in an email.
Of the 175,783 air and land travellers who were tested across the country between Feb. 22 and April 6, some 2,282 – or 1.3 per cent – were positive for COVID-19.
"The majority of these travellers that arrived by air were staying at a (government-approved) hotel when they tested positive and were then redirected to a designated quarantine facility or another suitable location to limit their interaction with other Canadians," Jarbeau said.
People who break the federal Quarantine Act can be fined up to $3,000 for each day of non-compliance, and there are even more severe penalties for people who put others' lives in jeopardy.
"A person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while willfully or recklessly contravening the act or the regulations, including submitting false information related to an individual’s quarantine plan, could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment of up to three years, or both," Jarbeau said.
Last week, B.C. set a new provincial record of 1,293 cases of COVID-19 identified in a single day. The province's weekly average also topped 1,000 infections per day for the first time in the pandemic.