Can I Isolate In A Hotel – So far, the government has spent $37 million on hotels for returning Canadians who cannot self-isolate at home | Messages loaded
Canada Investigates government spending $37 million so far on hotels for returning Canadians who couldn’t self-isolate at home
Can I Isolate In A Hotel
The federal government has spent more than $37 million to cover living expenses for travelers returning to Canada without a safe place for a 14-day quarantine. 11 hotel locations have been set up across the country, each with its own medical staff and security.
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International travelers arrive at BC Vancouver International Airport in Richmond on March 16, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 25, the federal government issued a public health order requiring a 14-day quarantine for travelers returning to Canada. (Ben Nelms/)
It was just after midnight on April 17 when Jeff Geauvreau landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport after a long journey from Peru, a country hard hit by COVID-19.
He told border officials at the airport that he was returning to Canada after nearly 10 years abroad and did not have a safe place to complete the mandatory two-week quarantine. He planned to stay with his elderly father, who was at risk of contracting the new coronavirus.
After a brief conversation with public health officials, he was told to get on a shuttle bus and be taken to a federal quarantine facility about 10 minutes away.
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According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Geauvreau is one of more than 3,000 returning travelers who spent two weeks in quarantine at a hotel seized by the federal government.
“I hope it’s not the barracks,” Geauvreau recalled his thoughts at the time. “I didn’t know what to expect.”
Jeff Geauvreau, pictured in Guelph, Ont., on Aug. 14, is one of thousands of returning Canadians who spent 14 days in hotel isolation as part of federal measures to contain the spread of the infection due to a lack of adequate accommodation. COVID-19. (Evan Mitsui/)
Geauvreau said the nurses checked on him and then escorted him to his room, which was a suite with a bedroom, living room, bathroom and two televisions. It is unclear whether his room was typical of the type of accommodation offered to returning travellers.
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“It was a plush … nice, big bed,” he recalled. “It was a lot more than I expected. It’s about expecting the worst and hoping for the best. And you know, it was really nice.”
As of August 16, 3,222 people stayed in hotels paid for by the government. By the end of July, the cost of providing quarantine facilities had exceeded $37 million, PHAC said.
The bedroom of Geauvreau’s hotel suite in Toronto, where he spent two weeks in quarantine in April after arriving from Peru. (Submitted by Jeff Geauvreau)
“Quarantine facilities are used to house people entering Canada who cannot self-isolate or quarantine because they cannot meet the conditions of a mandatory isolation order (such as living with a vulnerable person, not having private transportation if they have symptoms),” said Geoffroy Legault, a spokesperson Canadian Public Health Agency. In a statement by Thivierge.
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The agency did not provide a detailed breakdown of the costs, but said they include accommodation, food, transportation, health screenings and security. In some quarantine facilities, a nurse works around the clock.
There are 11 federal quarantine sites across the country, and two others are run jointly by the federal and provincial governments. Legault-Thivierge said the 11 federal cities have a total capacity of 1,500 people.
“We expect most travelers to self-quarantine at home or at the same location in Canada where they are visiting,” he said.
“If this is not possible, travelers are responsible for making alternative arrangements for quarantine accommodation that are within their financial means.”
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Before admitting someone to a quarantine facility, government officials work with them to make sure “all other options … within their own capabilities have been exhausted,” Jarbeau said.
The federal government reserved hotel rooms shortly after issuing a March 25 public health order requiring a 14-day quarantine for travelers returning to Canada.
Travelers contacted by the News who have stayed in hotels said they are usually mid-range hotels near airports.
Susie Grynol, president and CEO of the Canadian Hotel Association, said the group has worked with Ottawa to secure a small number of hotels near international airports to allow people to go into quarantine.
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“We were proud to support Public Health in their efforts to flatten the curve, but this was not a for-profit exercise,” he said in a statement to the News. “At that time, most of the hotels were practically closed.”
The government does not disclose which hotels are being used as quarantine facilities to protect the privacy and safety of those staying there, PHAC said in a statement.
Vijayendra Yalavarthi, who arrived in Toronto from India in June as part of the federal skilled worker program, said an ambulance took him to a hotel after he told border officials that his Airbnb rental had been forfeited.
Ottawa spent 37 million dollars 2 years ago on quarantine hotels in Canada. Duration 2:00 News has learned that the federal government has already spent at least $37 million to cover food and lodging for more than 3,000 people coming to Canada. isolate at home.
Government Has Spent $37m So Far On Hotels For Returning Canadians Who Can’t Self Isolate At Home
“The dinner is really good,” said Yalavarthi. “They experimented a lot. They give you… like rice with Indian recipes like paneer or curry. They… try it and it’s actually really good.”
Geauvreau said family and friends were not allowed to visit the hotel, but the Canadian Red Cross called once a day.
“They’re looking to see if you need anything… [My] USB cables were broken, so I’ve got some USB cables,” he said. “I think I got the powdered drink mix and [they] left my book… If you needed emergency socks or underwear or a shirt or something, they would buy it for you.”
Twice a day, there were health checks, during which nurses stood outside the room, took his temperature and asked him a series of questions, Geauvreau said. If someone showed symptoms during one of these checks, they were taken down to the hotel.
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At first, Geauvreau said, it was nice to have a quiet room where he could rest and recover from the long journey.
But after a few days, the suite began to feel small and confined. And he couldn’t leave because he didn’t have a key card.
Like other travelers returning to Canada, Geauvreau was not allowed to leave his hotel room in Toronto, where he was quarantined for two weeks. (Evan Mitsui/)
“You don’t leave that room. And if you enter the facility, there’s no way you can leave downstairs [once you sign in],” he said. “They can arrest anyone who tries to leave.”
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Geauvreau said one man “went nuts” and had to be subdued by security guards when he became loud and aggressive in a hotel hallway.
The IT specialist said he could go out to the pedestrian zone in the parking lot, but only through security.
Both Geauvreau and Yalavarthi said they learned about the federal quarantine sites through online networks of people coming to Canada from abroad.
There is no official government website with details, so Yalavarthi kept it as a backup option, choosing to use it only when her Airbnb bookings fell through.
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Vijayendra Yalavarthi, who arrived in Toronto from India in June as part of the federal skilled worker program, said an ambulance took him to a hotel after he told border officials that his Airbnb rental had been forfeited. (Evan Mitsui/)
The News interviewed several other travelers who expressed frustration that no hotel details were available online.
Overall, he said he is grateful for the experience and measures the Canadian government is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Yalavarthi said that when a family member contracted COVID-19 in India, she didn’t feel much support from the Indian government. “But here in Canada they are willing to help me even though I don’t have any symptoms of COVID.”
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As a recent immigrant, Yalavarthi said the experience made him feel welcome and well taken care of in Canada. The experience motivated him to come back, he said, and he’s happy to pay taxes to the government to help cover the costs. Being isolated in a small hotel room for days with no way out might have been the basis of a fly-on-the-wall reality TV show a few years ago.
However, as travel restrictions continue to change due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this scenario is becoming an integral part of travel during a pandemic.
Many destinations around the world, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, have a mandatory two-week quarantine for arrivals, while people traveling to Hong Kong must remain in isolation for a staggering three weeks.
While this may seem like a lot of money to spend on vacation, it is an unavoidable hurdle for those who must travel in these uncertain times.
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But how hard can it be to spend a few weeks
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