Feds called to tighten land and air travel rules


MONTREAL – Some premiers are sending a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to tighten restrictions on land and air travel to prevent the entry of more novel coronavirus variants, Quebec’s premier said Thursday.

Francois Legault told reporters in Quebec City he and his counterparts across the country are concerned about flights coming from regions where variants of concern are rampant, like India and Brazil.

“We would like to reinforce the measures regarding international flights (from) India and Brazil,” Legault said.

“Second, for people coming from the United States on the ground, we would like to see more measures, including quarantine, to make sure we prevent the increase in the number of people infected in Canada.”

Legault said the premiers of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia are among those behind the letter, adding that they agree more should be done to reduce interprovincial travel.

The province reported 1,248 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus Thursday, including two in the past 24 hours. Health officials said hospitalizations dropped by five, to 711, and 174 people were in intensive care, a drop of four. Quebec has 12,124 active reported cases.

Quebec set a daily record for COVID-19 vaccinations, with 85,772 doses administered on Wednesday. Health Minister Christian Dube said in a tweet that number includes more than 30,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca doses.

On Wednesday, Quebecers 45 and older officially became eligible to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. Dube said 103,000 people have scheduled an appointment to get an AstraZeneca dose in the coming week.

He says 11,000 people have been trained to administer COVID-19 vaccines, and that the province is ready to receive more doses.

Dube will provide an update on the province’s immunization campaign later Thursday.