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Legault Is Asking Trudeau To Ban All Nonessential International Flights

The premier said he's worried about new variant strains of COVID-19.

Quebec Premier François Legault is calling on Canada's federal government to ban all nonessential international flights, he said in a press conference on January 19.  

The premier said he has already been in private talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Canadian government about banning international flights, but "now the time has come to act." 

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Today I ask Mr. Trudeau [and] the federal government to rapidly forbid all nonessential international flights. 

Premier François Legault

"I wouldn't want us to experience what we experienced after spring break in March," Legault said.

"I still don't understand that a person decides to go to Punta Cana or to Cancun in an all-inclusive given the situation that we're experiencing in Quebec ... to find ourselves with an overloaded health care system."

Legault said he is open to discussing what is considered an essential flight and what isn't.

But, he added, "It's clear to me that somebody who goes on vacation down south to an all-inclusive ... it's not essential."

Legault said the Quebec government is anxious about new, more contagious COVID-19 virus variants from the U.K., Brazil and South Africa, calling the situation in U.K. hospitals "catastrophic." 

"When we have people who come from abroad who met other people who were in international places, we multiply the chances to have these strains enter [Quebec]," he said.

Legault also questioned the federal government's procedure for verifying whether Canadians follow mandatory self-isolation protocol upon returning home from abroad. 

"We've all seen cases where people come home and it's robocalls ... it's not like that that we'll assure that people who come home from travelling stay at home for a quarantine," said Legault.

"I understand that Mr. Trudeau, like us, says that it's not ideal, but we're no longer in hypotheses. We must act."