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'Close down any travel coming into Canada': Ford calls for more restrictions on travel

Elisabetta Bianchini
·2-min read

For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford continues to call on the federal government to increase restrictions for anyone looking to travel into Canada.

“Close down any travel coming into Canada, outside of residents of Canada or citizens of Canada,” Ford said at a press conference on Monday. “There’s no reason we need people coming in.”

The premier went on to say that when he watches the planes coming into Toronto Pearson International Airport in Etobicoke he thinks, “how many [COVID-19] cases are coming in?”

“This has to stop, it’s absolutely critical,” Ford said.

The premier said that based on the voluntary testing pilot program at the Toronto airport, about 2.5 per cent of those tested when they arrive in Canada tested positive for COVID-19 in the process.

When asked about the B117 variant, first identified in the U.K., which has devastated the Roberta Place Long Term Care in Barrie, Ont., Ford said Canada should be looking at the “root cause,” adding that the variant could have been “caught” at the airport before it entered long-term care homes.

Changes to vaccine distribution plans

The Ontario government announced Monday that with a limited number of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines expected to arrive in Canada over the coming week, the province plans to vaccinate residents in long-term care, high-risk retirement, and First Nations elder care homes Feb. 5.

Ontario will maintain a maximum interval of between 21 and 27 days between the two doses for these groups, and up to 42 days between the two doses for all other groups who received their first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, including healthcare workers.

“Due to the delay in the next shipment of Pfizer vaccine doses, we are ensuring all available supplies are redirected to those who need them most: our residents in long-term care and retirement homes,” Ford said in a statement. “I know this will mean that some people may have to reschedule their vaccine appointments, but it is critical that our most vulnerable seniors receive the protection they need as soon as possible.”

Ontario will not receive vaccine deliveries from Pfizer this week and will receive just about 26,000 doses in the first weeks of February.

Check out our COVID-19 in Canada topic page for latest news, tips, health updates, cases and more.