canada border

Ontario's top doctor urges federal government to tighten borders

As the provincial government continues to implement progressively more extreme lockdown measures, officials are pointing to one major contributor to COVID-19 spread that has nothing to do with people gathering to socialize with others or leaving the house too often: lax borders.

Premier Doug Ford has demanded on more than one occassion that the federal government crack down on incoming passengers, attributing the province's blanket lockdown on people travelling too much unnecessarily.

"As people are flowing in, we're doing nothing," Ford said in a press conference at the end of December, noting that 64,000 people had flooded into the country in the previous week "basically unchecked."

"My concern is about international travellers: at minimum they should be tested at the airport."

He also expressed concern about the fact that an estimated 25 per cent of arriving passengers aren't properly quaranting for 14 days as they're supposed to in Canada.

And now, the health official that he takes all his medical advice from when creating new pandemic policies is echoing his call.

Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer, said during a media briefing on Thursday that "we really have to have very strict measures at our borders, especially at the airport. This has been going on for months... we still find cases coming in."

He noted that this "big issue" is in the hands of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his team, not the Province, and that he staunchly disagrees with Ottawa's assertion that Canada has some of the best border protections.

In the first nine days of 2021 alone, more than 30 international flights landed at Toronto's Pearson International Airport with at least one COVID-19 infections on board, from destinations such as the U.S. and Mexico, where many Canadians have notoriously been heading to lockdown-free regions to party.

Trudeau has told Canadians that "no one" should be taking a vacation right now, including the dozens of politicans and health officials who have been busted doing so, and also introduced a new requirement for passengers to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed into the country.

But placing far more prohibitive limitations on incoming travel is perhaps the most successful measure that countries such as Australia — which has completely closed its borders all but residents, immediate family members and people from New Zealand — have used to drastically reduce their COVID-19 numbers 

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