The United States and Canada have vastly different approaches to making sure that travelers self-isolate after returning home from time abroad.
While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) simply urges all persons to “stay home for 14 days” after entering United States, the Canadian government has made self-isolation compulsory, and imposed hefty penalties for those that don’t comply.
No federal order has been issued for travelers in the United States, and the CDC simply advises people who have returned home from international travel to: 1. Take one’s temperature with a thermometer two times a day, monitor for fever and watch for cough or trouble breathing. 2. Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school. 3. Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares. 4. Keep one’s distance from others (about six feet or two meters).
Last month, the U.S. State Department issued a Level 4 travel advisory instructing U.S. citizens not to travel internationally — and for those who are abroad, to either return immediately or be prepared to remain abroad indefinitely.
Canada, on the other hand, issued an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act on March 25 that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to quarantine (self-isolate) themselves for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of Covid-19.
This week, the measures were amplified to force Canadians returning home without credible plans to self-isolate to be obliged to stay at a quarantine facility, such as a hotel. In addition, all travelers returning from abroad will be required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering before they can proceed to their final destination.
The maximum penalties for failing to comply with the Quarantine Act include a fine of up to $CAD750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months.
News reports suggest that levels of health screenings at U.S. airports are less stringent than what travelers experienced overseas. Many airports are still failing to take the temperatures of returning international passengers, a recent NPR report noted.