Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says finger-pointing won’t help Ontario. Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party released an ad accusing him of failing to appropriately restrict travel into the province. Trudeau says Ottawa is willing to work with Ontario on further limiting the number of people allowed to enter the province, but hasn’t heard from Premier Doug Ford since last week. Ontario has requested that Ottawa impose rules on interprovincial air travelers similar to the ones applied to passengers flying in from abroad, and require a hotel quarantine for travelers coming into Canada at land crossings.
Trudeau stated that he has proposed tighter restrictions on temporary foreign workers and agricultural workers, as well as compassionate exceptions and international students, noting that Ontario has approved the arrival of 30,000 international students in the past month. According to a Ford spokesperson, Ontario has made it “clear” that more action is required to prevent COVID-19 variants of concern from entering the country. The province has yet to receive a formal response to its requests, and there is no indication that further action will be taken.
At the time, Ottawa stated that it would not impose the hotel quarantine requirement at land crossings, but that provinces could impose their own measures if they so desired.
Ontario is collaborating with Ottawa to offer free rapid antigen COVID-19 tests to small and medium-sized businesses. The tests will be distributed through local chambers of commerce and other organizations that are participating.
On Friday, Ontario reported 3,166 new cases of the Covid-19, as well as 23 new deaths linked to the virus. According to the province, 1,924 people have been hospitalized as a result of the virus, with 858 in intensive care and 611 on a ventilator. As per the Ministry of Health, the case count may be under-reported due to a technical issue.