The Canadian government is urging all Canadians abroad to come home before it’s too late.
In a Tweet sent out Saturday morning, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philipe Champagne said the federal government recommends “Canadian travellers return to Canada via commercial means while they still remain available.”
OFFICIAL ADVICE TO CANADIANS ABROAD:— François-Philippe Champagne (FPC) (@FP_Champagne) March 14, 2020
We recommend that Canadian travellers return to Canada via commercial means while they remain available. pic.twitter.com/f8DC5goS3n
The advice comes as several European countries brace for border closures and Canadians, among other tourists, scramble to sort out last minute flights.
Italy was the first European country to lockdown movement in an effort to stem transmission of the COVID-19 virus. The move effectively paralyzed the country’s economy.
On Saturday, Spain’s government announced it was posed to follow suit as the contagion sweeps across the nation of 46 million people. The government will place tight restrictions on movement and close restaurants and other establishments as party of a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in coronavirus infections. The country’s case load had surged to 5,753 by Saturday, representing an over 1,500 increase in 24 hours.
“Airlines have cancelled flights. New restrictions may be imposed with little warning. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted and you may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected,” the Global Affairs Canada said in a statement.
“Find out what commercial options are still available to return to Canada. Consider returning to Canada earlier than planned if these options are becoming more limited,” reads a government of Canada recommendation.
The advice from the federal government comes on the heels of recommendations from provincial health officials earlier this week that British Columbia refrain from travel abroad, and that anyone returning from overseas self-isolate for a 14-day period.
B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry clarified that statement Friday, saying the province would consider travel essential for anyone whose work relates to the movement of goods and people across borders — such as truckers and airline crews, for example.
Those workers won't be subjected to the 14-day self-isolation period that Canada is requiring of international travellers who arrive in the country, but they should self-monitor for any symptoms of the coronavirus.
— with files from the Canadian Press, the Associated Press and Kirsten Clarke/Richmond News
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