Trudeau to begin enforcing border restrictions on Canadians travelling abroad

Despite 10 months of urging Canadians to "stay home," millions of Canadians -- including many high-profile politicians -- have travelled internationally. pushing travel-related COVID-19 infections to record levels last month.

The Canadian Press with CNC files

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to today announced some restrictions on international travel as more infectious variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spread around the globe.

For months, Trudeau has urged Canadians to not to take any non-essential trips outside the country, though millions of Canadians -- including many high-profile politicians -- have defied his requests, which have not been enforced.

The prime minister is expected to today announce a plan to start enforcing restrictions in time to stop an exodus of winter-weary Canadians from taking advantage of the coming March break to vacation in warmer climes.

The announcement comes as new, more virulent, variants of the coronavirus have crossed the border into Canada. 

Canada temporarily banned flights from the United Kingdom after that country reported in December a new variant of COVID-19 that was spreading like wildfire. But as of Jan. 7, the Trudeau government lifted the ban and instead has required proof of a negative COVID-19 test, taken within 72 hours of departure time, before anyone is allowed to board a flight to Canada.

Despite the pre-travel test requirement, the number of travel-related infections, which surged to a new record in December, has continued to be high throughout January. 

Trudeau is also expected to announce the second instalment of funding to provinces and territories to help them safely operate schools during the pandemic.

Last August, Trudeau committed up to $2 billion through the Safe Return To Class fund. The first instalment was paid out last fall as schools reopened across the country for the first time since March.

At the time, Trudeau promised a second instalment early in 2021 to ensure support for the whole school year.

The fund is intended to help cover the costs of physically-distanced learning spaces, improved air ventilation, increased hand sanitation and hygiene, and purchases of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.

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