Ebola crisis: Canada imposes quarantine, self-monitoring measures

The Canadian government says it is strengthening restrictions on travellers from Ebola-affected areas in West Africa. "High-risk" travellers who have been in any of the three worst-affected countries during the previous three weeks are ordered to self-isolate at home or at "a facility" for 21 days.

New guidelines could mean quarantine for returning health-care workers

A health-care professional demonstrates protective equipment procedures at Toronto Western Hospital. The Canadian government said Monday it's strengthening public-health measures at borders and airports to prevent the spread of Ebola. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

The Canadian government says it is strengthening restrictions on travellers from Ebola-affected areas in West Africa.

"High-risk" travellers who have been in any of the three worst-affected countries — Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia — during the previous three weeks will be ordered to self-isolate at home or at "a facility," preferably near a provincially designated treatment centre, for 21 days, the incubation period of the disease. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada statement released Monday says high-risk travellers are those who have had direct contact with Ebola patients, such as funeral attendants and family members. It does not specify whether the designation would apply to returning health-care workers.

If travellers to the Ebola-affected countries have had no known exposure to the virus they will be expected to self-monitor for 21 days, including two temperature checks a day.

Quarantine officers will tell people when and how to contact public health authorities, and will give travellers an information kit that includes a thermometer. 

Travellers with Ebola-like symptoms will be immediately isolated and sent to a hospital for examination. If they are released by the hospital, they will still be required to self-monitor.

The federal guidance says local public-health authorities can decide on a case-by-case basis whether to require a returning medical worker to go into home quarantine for 21 days.

Rumours have swirled for some time that the federal government was going to issue strict quarantine rules for returning health-care workers. But multiple sources suggest the idea was met with considerable pushback from provincial governments.

With files from The Canadian Press