Friday, 26 Feb 2021

Travellers from Iran face increased border screening in Canada as COVID-19 cases rise

The federal government has increased border-screening measures for travellers arriving in Canada from Iran in light of the growing number of novel coronavirus cases linked to that country.

Several of Canada’s most recent 27 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, which can cause a respiratory disease known as COVID-19, have been linked to travel to Iran or close contact with people who’ve recently returned from that country.

Anyone who returns to Canada from Iran will be asked to contact their local public health authority within 24 hours and to self-isolate at home for 14 days — the incubation period of the virus.

The move marks a change in the Public Health Agency of Canada’s approach to the outbreak, as Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam has repeatedly said that as the number of affected countries increases, border measures typically become less feasible and effective.

“(Iran) is a country with rapidly escalating cases with local transmission,” Tam said Monday. “The rapid escalation in cases together with the actual exportation to Canada was a key aspect of that decision.”

Symptomatic passengers will be asked to fill out a form with their contact information so that public health officials can follow up with them. If travellers have symptoms, such as a fever or dry cough, they will be assessed at the airport.

Global Affairs has also updated its travel advisory to urge Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel to Iran.

Iran has confirmed 1,501 cases of the virus and 66 deaths. Many believe the true number is larger, as the country’s caseload surged more than 250 per cent in just 24 hours.

Canada has also increased its advisory level for northern Italy, and some regions of South Korea, due to the virus.

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