COVID forces Quebec travelers to find plans B

Those going on vacation while Quebec is experiencing a significant spike in COVID cases will need to review their planning or find plans B.

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“For example, we have cases of families who should go abroad in the coming days. But as some have COVID, we were able to reschedule their trip as they had planned to do so by purchasing insurance,” says Tina Beaulieu, owner of travel agency NT Air in Montreal.


Travel Agency Tina Beaulieu, at Voyages NT Air, in Montreal.

Photo Pierre Paul Poulin

Travel Agency Tina Beaulieu, at Voyages NT Air, in Montreal.

In recent weeks, Quebec has seen a sharp increase in cases and deaths related to COVID-19. Hospitalizations again exceeded the 1,500 mark.

On Thursday, Health Minister Christian Dubé and Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau, at a press conference, insisted that Quebecers must continue to respect isolation instructions to prevent contagion.

“It is certain that we have more cases than last year because there are more transmissions and fewer measures due to the B.4 and B.5 variants,” notes the professor at the University of Montreal’s School of Public Health, Benoît Mâsse, firmly .

And with the onset of summertime, Quebecers going on vacation or planning to go on vacation are not immune to infections.

better prepared

However, after two years of the pandemic, they appear to be significantly better prepared to turn back in the event of infection.

“We offer our customers to take out travel insurance so they don’t lose it. Between COVID and the problem of passports, it has become inevitable,” explains Stéphanie Reilly of Voyages Jean-Pierre company in Brossard on Montreal’s south coast.

Many customers book at the last minute to ensure they aren’t canceled or changed, she adds.

Travel differently

Vacationers also need to learn how to travel and prepare differently to avoid nasty surprises at the airport as they now have to comply with immigration regulations that vary from country to country.

“We see that people are very anxious and want to be sure they have everything covered before they leave,” says Ms. Reilly.

As with Voyages Jean-Pierre, the agencies receive questions and calls from travelers about health measures abroad.

“With the start of the holidays, we are really seeing an increase in calls, which accounts for about 50% of calls,” explains Marina Fortin, owner of the M Voyages Rimouski agency in Bas-Saint-Laurent.

To avoid headaches, most companies provide some kind of checklist.

“At the time of booking I always give a list of things to check and 72 hours before their departure I contact them again to check with them that they are up to date depending on the destination,” says Tina Beaulieu. , owner of travel agency NT Air in Montreal.

Trip to Canada

Proof of vaccination is no longer required to board a train or plane within Canada. However, you must meet certain requirements, e.g. B. showing no signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and wearing a mask during the trip.

You may not be able to board a train or plane if you have symptoms unless you have a medical certificate confirming they are not related to COVID-19 or provide a negative PCR test.

foreign travel

For travelers, you may be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test.

Example: In France, adults over the age of 18 must receive a booster shot no later than nine months after the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Persons who have not been vaccinated must present a PCR test less than 72 hours before departure or an antigen test less than 48 hours.

To learn the requirements for each country, you can consult the Government of Canada’s Travel Advisories and Advice by Destination page.

Individuals who have not received two doses of the vaccine must present a negative screening test prior to boarding the aircraft, undergo a screening test upon return to Canada, and quarantine for 14 days.

PCR test

Some countries like South Korea, India or Cameroon require all their visitors to present a negative screening test to return to the country, even if they have a full vaccination schedule.

In most European countries, even unvaccinated people must have a screening test to cross the border.

In Quebec, private companies carry out these tests and some pharmacies also offer this service. Basically, an online appointment is required, especially on the Clic-Santé platform.

Not all countries accept the same tests, so check if the country you’re visiting requires a PCR or antigen test.

ArriveCan

Use of the Canadian federal government application remains mandatory. All returning travellers, citizens or non-citizens, must provide the requested information within 72 hours of their return, e.g. E.g. proof of vaccination, information on the trip made or the quarantine plan.

Without documentary proof with ArriveCan, travelers face a $5,000 fine.

positive abroad

If you contracted COVID-19 during your trip within 10 days of your return to the country, you will not be able to fly. You must therefore follow the instructions of the country you are in, for example whether or not you need to quarantine. You must wait until you have a negative screening result for COVID-19 to return to Canada, Health Canada explains.

COVID reminder in Quebec


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vaccination

People wishing to receive a 3rd dose (booster dose) for COVID-19 can still make an appointment on the Clic-Santé platform.

Appointments for a 4th dose are already being offered to people over the age of 18 who received their last dose at least three months ago, as well as to immunocompromised and dialysis patients over the age of 12.

isolation

In Quebec, the government requires you to isolate yourself immediately if you have a fever.

If you have COVID, you must self-isolate for five days once symptoms appear or if you test positive. After this time, if the symptoms and fever disappear for 24 hours, you can resume your activities: by wearing a mask;

  • avoiding participation in non-essential social events;
  • Avoiding encounters with vulnerable people;
  • Keeping the distance of 2 meters.
  • However, if you have had COVID-19 within the last two months, you do not need to self-isolate again. However, until the symptoms disappear, it is strongly recommended:
  • wear a mask during any social interaction;
  • Avoid contact with vulnerable people.
  • People living with someone infected with COVID must for 10 days:
  • monitor their symptoms;
  • do not come into contact with vulnerable persons;
  • wearing a mask during social interactions;
  • Respect the distance of two meters.

However, unvaccinated individuals must self-isolate for 5 days.

rapid tests

Quebecers can pick up a box of rapid tests at the pharmacy at any time by booking an appointment on the Clic Santé platform or by going to the counter.

Every adult is entitled to a free box of five tests every 30 days upon presentation of their RAMQ card.

Although “imperfect,” these tests are effective in detecting COVID-19 infection despite the arrival of new variants.

“If the test is negative but you still have symptoms, you have to be careful and show a bit of consideration for others [en s’isolant]’ explains McGill University professor David Juncker, adding repeating a test within 24 or 48 hours.

– With Hugo Duchaine

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