Tiffany Gaura and her family returned home after a trip to Egypt. She and her children had taken COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests at Cairo International Airport and at Frankfurt International Airport. Moreover, Gaura herself was fully vaccinated.
The family planned to quarantine themselves at their empty home in Calgary. However, things did not go exactly as planned.
Agents of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) interrogated Gaura for 15 minutes about her non-existent COVID history, her vaccination status and her plans in the country.
"They read me my rights, told me I was entitled to a lawyer [and that] the fine for breaking quarantine is up to $750,000. We had a dedicated escort throughout, ensuring we weren't escaping," Gaura wrote in a Facebook post.
"Secondary unexplained screening at customs, and a PCR [test] on arrival. We weren't allowed to make any stops or get anything to eat or drink. The whole process took about two hours."
The Gauras were transported to the Westin Airport Hotel in Calgary, which Ottawa has contracted out as a secure quarantine site. Gaura said entry to the hotel was blocked, and Canadian Red Cross (CRC) employees "in hazmat suits" greeted them and processed their paperwork.
The family was then taken to an isolation floor. "We cannot go outside, leave our room, get deliveries or packages [or] consume anything from offsite," she said.
"The kids are going stir crazy [with] no fresh air [and] no physical activity. We are doing yoga and schoolwork. I brought a few card games, but that can only fill so many hours of the day with no space or freedom to roam."
The room assigned to the Gauras only had one bed, so the entire family must sleep together. She added that the view from their room is of a "window to nothing." She elaborated: "[We] can't see the parking lot or any comings and goings from the site. I wonder if they give rooms that have a view of the outside." (Related: Canada spends millions on "voluntary" isolation sites, tightens travel restrictions.)
Gaura described the meals provided to them as "horrible," saying that the meals "arrive cold and have limited nutrition value." She continued: ""No fruits or vegetables, aside from potatoes. No beverages are offered, so it's tap water for the win. It's gross."
Once Gaura and her children receive negative COVID-19 PCR test results, they must contact the CRC to "coordinate with quarantine officers" for their discharge. However, the coordination can take up to two days, and they are still waiting for the test results.
"Apparently in Canada, it takes 72 hours to get results in 2021. Or maybe, they just want us to stay here longer," she lamented.
Their ordeal does not end with being discharged from the facility. They must complete the compulsory 14-day quarantine at home and take another test on the eighth day.
Gaura said: "This is happening right now in Canada, two years into a pandemic, to vaccinated individuals. I don't have the words to express this well. I waver back and forth between rage, embarrassment and disbelief. This will change my life, I have no doubt."
The draconian measures Gaura and her children were subjected to was driven by the B11529 omicron strain. In response to the purportedly more infectious variant, the Canadian government imposed new quarantine measures and travel bans to countries in Africa.
In a Nov. 30 press release, Ottawa announced "additional border measures" to "reduce the risk of the importation and transmission of COVID-19 and its variants in Canada." Travelers from 10 African countries – including Egypt – were prohibited from entering the country.
"Canadian citizens regardless of their vaccination status … who have been in any of these 10 countries in the previous 14 days will be subject to enhanced pre-entry and arrival testing, screening and quarantine measures," the press release stated. True enough, Gaura and her children were subjected to some of the protocols outlined.
"Those arriving by air will be required to stay in a designated quarantine facility while they await their arrival test result. They will be permitted onward travel once they have received a negative arrival test result. They will also be required to complete a test on day eight after arrival and quarantine for 14 days." (Related: People traveling to Canada need negative COVID test or they'll be quarantined in government camp.)
Pandemic.news has more about COVID-19 draconian health protocols.