An Orillia woman returning to Canada from a European vacation Sunday says she had a good screening experience at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
“I felt that in fairness to our (Canadian) government…I really don’t know what else or more they can do,” said Jackie Koza, who travelled to the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria from March 5-15. “They’ve given full instructions, they’ve asked you if you are well.
“I’m sure if I said “no, I have a fever and a cough’ they would have separated me immediately. They’ve informed everybody what’s expected of them, as they arrive. If they’re not presenting symptoms, it’s like ‘get home and stay home’ (self-isolate).”
Jackie and her husband Cully will now be in self-isolation for 14 days.
On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced tougher restrictions for air travellers to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Canada is barring entry to all travellers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents – excepting air crew, diplomats, immediate family members of citizens and American citizens. Also, no one displaying symptoms will be permitted to board a flight to Canada, and air operators will be required to complete a basic health assessment of every passenger based on guidelines from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The Kozas left Canada March 5, landed first in the UK, then traveled to Munich, met with a group of people and travelled to Austria for a ski holiday. They intended to stay until April 7.
“(We) kept a close watch on the news, as the holiday progressed,” she said. “We quickly realized that we needed to make arrangements to get home. Very luckily we were able to get seats and left Munich Sunday.”
When they arrived at Pearson and got off the plane, the Kozas walked through the airport and were met by agents who checked their passports, questioned how they felt, health-wise.
“My husband and I both felt fine,” she said.
They filled out forms at customs, then went to another kiosk and were asked had they been to China, etc. and then collected their bags.
Half of their travel group had received paperwork which said they were expected to self-isolate and tell their local health authority they had been overseas. The Kozas did not, but it made no difference in their plans.
“We were fully aware from the media that were were expected to self-isolate,” she said. “Our plans were to do just that (self-isolate for 14 days), because we had read it repeatedly, thorough the Canadian media.
“I feel like Canada did yesterday (Sunday) the best it could do, under the circumstances. Canada is helping their people get home…and asking them to do what’s right.”