Oh, how Covid changed the way we travel!
Before, in the Pre-Covid World, all you have to do is check in at the airport, present your boarding pass and get on board the airplane, after some snooze and mid-air snacks – voila! You have arrived in your destination – and you either see a familiar face that welcomes you with a tight embrace or you go out the airport and begin your adventure. Simple and direct, no fuss and buzz – that was the system we knew before the 2020 pandemic usher us to a “new normal”. Today, wherever you might go, even when simply dining out, there are protocols to follow. Some might frown upon the mandatory regulations, but remember that protocols are put in place for our protection and the well being of the community.
International students arriving in Canada are no exemption to the rules, but one good thing about holding a student visa to Canada is that they are one of the few classes who were first to be allowed to enter the country when the borders reopened. This privilege comes with a condition that international students arriving in Canada must have a 14 day quarantine plan and they must submit it prior to arriving in Canada through the ArriveCan App. The 14 day quarantine or self-isolation is mandatory and violation can result to unfavourable consequences.
Your 14 Day Quarantine Plan must include the following:
- Your Accommodation Information
- Your transportation details
- Your Means of Access to the necessities of life
The accommodation details should include the full details of your place of quarantine such as the complete address, name of the hotel or property, contact number for validation (just in case), proof of any payment, a message from a friend or family that supports your quarantine arrangements, photo of the place, and/or a rental lease. It is important that you have a proof of your accommodation arrangements to avoid conflict.
A suitable place of quarantine is one where you:
- Have access to the necessities of life without leaving that place
- Have a separate bedroom if the space is shared with family/friends who didn’t travel with you
- Can limit interactions with others in the household. If spaces, such as a kitchen, are shared:
- wear a mask if a 2m distance cannot be maintained
- thoroughly and regularly clean common areas after use
- Are not living with those at risk of more severe disease
- Are not in close contact with others who did not travel with you. For example, do not quarantine in:
- a group or communal living setting, including camps or student dorms unless the location is pre-authorized;
- a household with a large family or many people
- a shared small apartment or similar setting
Preferably, it is ideal to make transportation arrangement that can take you to your place of quarantine with minimal exposure to anyone else. You can provide hotel transport arrangement, a number of a taxi company, or a message from someone who will pick you up and drive you directly to your quarantine accommodation. You can also have a pre-installed ride hailing app such as Uber and Lyft, and you can still take the public transportation as long as you practice social distancing (2 meters apart) and keep your mask up all the time.
Access to the necessities of life:
It is important that you also plan ahead how you can have access to the basic necessities like food, sanitary supplies, connection (sim card and wifi) and access to sufficient funds.
For food, most accommodation that offers a quarantine package also includes 3 meals per day during your stay – if not, you can also order online since most restaurant and couriers can do a no contact delivery.
Getting a SIM card or an internet connection is also necessary. A reliable internet connection or phone reception is not only for entertainment but it is essential for you to keep reporting updates about your self isolation, specially if you developed any symptoms. Reporting within 48 hours of your arrival in Canada is mandated by the government as well as daily report of self assessment to lookout for any symptoms that might develop until the end of your quarantine. Sanitary supplies such as sanitizer and masks are also consider essentials as they are key to prevent the spread of the virus – so you must pack enough to cover the quarantine period.
You might be overwhelmed with this information, but worry not because as the need for quarantining accommodation arise, there also was a rise of supply to meet the demand. A lot of hotels have transitioned into hosting self isolating travellers for the meantime. Schools and Universities can also help you find a host for your quarantine such as on campus accommodations or homestay. So as long as you are prepared with your quarantine plan, there shouldn’t be a problem, Canada will welcome you.
Can you imagine how the world has changed looking back into the not so distant 2020? The “new normal” imposes that distancing and self isolating is actually a means of showing love – that you cannot just hug someone as you welcome them home; that even a handshake can be fatal for someone vulnerable. What a strange time we live in, isn’t it? Nevertheless, what is essential must be done, and these essentials do not require tremendous effort. We should always keep in mind that we must be part of the solution and not the problem. We can overcome and get out of this Covid-19 pandemic through solidarity, and before you even notice, we can freely go out without the masks again and see each others’ beautiful smiles.