It is now reported that Canadian health officials have been placed at popular border crossing sites between Canada and the U.S. A. as COVID-19 surges south of the border.
Their presence is to ensure increased screening for COVID as the number of travellers coming into Canada from the states has gone up.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is currently adding on-site employees at 36 points of entry, including New Brunswick crossings in St. Stephen, Woodstock and Edmundston (land and air) that see 90 percent of the travellers crossing.
According to a Health Canada spokesperson the personnel being added includes: PHAC (Public Health Agency of Canada) officials, including quarantine officers, clinical screening officers and screening officers.
The news follows a surge in new cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. that occurring at the same time that more people are travelling because restrictions have been lessened. Also, medical screening for the virus falls outside the regular job of Canadian Border Service Agency officers, although in February and March, CBSA officials began asking screening questions and taking temperatures sporadically.
Who Is Travelling Across the Borders Now?
Traffic between the U.S. and Canada dropped since the border closed to non-essential travel on March 21. But recent exemptions have allowed for traffic to enter, including immediate family members, who are required to stay in the country for a minimum of 15 days, with 2 weeks in quarantine. International arrivals must also complete a contact-tracing form and provide information to allow for physical checks that they are following isolation guidelines.
Also permitted are those you need to cross for work and study, medical care, health reasons and the flow of goods and services for supply chains.
What Happens Now?
Officers on site will refer any traveller suspected of being ill to a Public Health Agency staff member for further assessment if they are believed to be ill. They will also consider if a person is able to properly self-isolate or quarantine.
For more information on border restrictions, visit the Health Canada website HERE.