Coronavirus: Premier Doug Ford's advice for travel on March break no longer applies

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says families should go ahead and travel during March break despite fears over the novel coronavirus.

JACQUIE MILLER

Updated: March 13, 2020

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s comment on Thursday that families should go ahead and travel during March break has been overtaken by events as Canada grapples with the novel coronavirus.

At a press conference Thursday morning, Ford said the situation could change, but at the time he urged families to enjoy themselves as schools close for March breaks.

However, by Friday morning Canada’s public health authorities had asked Canadians to cancel all non-essential travel outside the country, and for anyone returning from abroad to self-isolate.

On Thursday, Ontario announced that schools would remain closed for two weeks after the March break, which starts March 16.

One of the reasons for school closures, said Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, was concern over the likelihood of many children travelling over March break, and the fact that two of the new COVID-19 cases Ontario announced Thursday were in people under the age of 18. One is a baby.

“That substantiated my concerns that children can have it,” he said. “While I don’t believe there’s much illness, it does give the potential of bringing back infection and introducing it into various settings, including schools and daycares.”

Many schools across the country have already cancelled student trips abroad, for fear that students will be at risk from the virus, end up stuck in quarantine in a foreign country or bring the virus back home with them.

New Brunswick took the unprecedented step of ordering students and preschoolers returning from travel abroad to stay away from school for two weeks to prevent the spread of illness.

The Canadian government has earlier issued advisories against non-essential travel to coronavirus hotspots like China and Iran, and told people they should not take cruises because the virus easily spreads onboard.

That escalated dramatically on Friday morning, when Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam advised Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country. Tam also urged people to avoid all large public gatherings.

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local...on-march-break