Edmonton resident, Nikki Mathis was forced into quarantine at a government facility despite arriving at Calgary airport with negative COVID-19 test results last week. Her husband, Chris Mathis, detailed the incident on Facebook, warning that Canadians’ “rights are slipping right before our eyes.”
Although she landed on Thursday, Nikki Mathis appears to have been quarantined under a new policy announced by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the following day, according to The Western Standard.
Trudeau’s latest travel restrictions include mandatory molecular COVID-19 testing and hotel quarantine for all air travelers upon entering the country. Travelers will have to isolate in a designated hotel for up to three days while waiting for their test results, Trudeau said.
The Canadian government already requires that travelers provide negative molecular test results, as well as a “mandatory quarantine plan,” before boarding international flights to Canada. Nikki Mathis arrived with negative results, though they were from a rapid antigen test, her husband related.
“[Nikki] was free to travel as long as she had a negative test before she left for the states, and another one before she came home,” Chris Mathis wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday.
“She arrived in Calgary tonight and when she got there she was greeted by a Police Officer and an [Alberta Health Services] official,” he added. “They rejected her results and told her she needed to go immediately to an isolation facility. She was told if she resisted she would be arrested.”
“She was not allowed to get her vehicle from the airport, she was immediately put in a white van surrounded by police escorts and taken to an unknown facility that is under full surveillance and has security at every entrance and exit,” Mathis wrote.
Other passengers were allowed to do rapid testing upon arrival, but Mathis wasn’t, Pastor Chris told the The Buffalo Tribune.
“She called me, and I immediately asked to talk with the officer,” he continued in his post. “I asked for the address of where she would be, they said they could not give me the location address as it was confidential.” Mathis only managed to discover his wife’s whereabouts by tracking the GPS location of her phone.
“You can imagine I am barely keeping myself together wondering what in the world has happened in our country in what seems to be overnight,” he said.
A similar incident occurred at Calgary airport just days later, when another Canadian citizen, Ethan MacDonald, was taken away in a van as his mother, Rebekah, waited to welcome him back from the states.
“They are saying [his test results are] not accurate and they are wanting to take him to a quarantine facility. They won’t let me talk to him. They won’t let me see him. They won’t come and talk to me,” MacDonald said in a video from the airport on Saturday.
“The border patrol services say they have nothing to do with it — they won’t tell me who has to do with it,” she said. “They won’t tell me who’s picking him up. They won’t tell me where he’s going. They won’t tell me anything.”
The recent events fly in the face of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s assertion in December that “Alberta is not building any COVID internment camps.”
“What we are doing is providing hotel rooms for people — at their choice — to self-isolate, should they not be able to do so at home to avoid infecting loved ones,” he claimed.
Under Prime Minister Trudeau’s new policy, travelers who test positive while in government-enforced isolation will be required to spend all 14 days of their quarantine period isolating in a hotel. If travelers test positive during quarantine, they have to start another isolation cycle.
Hotel isolation costs run approximately $2,000 per traveler, Canadian officials have said, noting that the government will not cover “any part” of it. Alberta, nevertheless, pays non-travelers to subject themselves to similar measures voluntarily, promising “culturally-appropriate food.”
Canada’s Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) is planning to sue over the new quarantine rules, which the group says “aligns with the practices of repressive and undemocratic regimes.”