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Over 5,000 Canadians sent to secret COVID-19 facilities since pandemic began

Over 5,000 Canadians have been forced into secretive holding facilities to isolate them since the pandemic began.

According to records obtained by the National Post as of Jan. 24, 3,111 have been detained in government approved hotels in Ontario, 790 in Quebec and 719 in British Columbia, with hundreds more between the other provinces.

The federal government has designated 11 places as isolation centres across the country for international travelers that enter Canada without acceptable negative tests. Some have claimed conditions as these facilities are not appropriate.

Travellers arriving from outside of Canada can expect to pay up to $2,000 out of pocket to stay at a government designated isolation centre while awaiting test results. 

Starting on Feb. 22, all international travelers will have to quarantine for 72-hours at select hotels. It is unclear at this time if the hotels currently being used to detain people will be part of this program.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed concerns about forced quarantines, claiming that people are not being detained.

“I think it’s extremely important to make a clear distinction that these aren’t detentions; these are medically based isolations,” Trudeau said during his COVID-19 update press conference. 

“We are not detaining people. These are public health measures that are necessary to ensure that we are keeping Canadians safe, particularly given the arrival … of new variants in Canada, and extensively around the world.”

Angelo Vanegas told the National Post he was sent to a secret location returning home to Calgary from a trip to Mexico. Vanegas said the negative COVID-19 test he took in Mexico was not accepted.

“Once you arrive at the facility they start telling you the rules … you’re not allowed to order UberEats or Skip The Dishes, you’re not allowed to tell the location to even your own family,” Vanegas said.

Former detainees have complained about the food and the lack of time outside. No courtesy from staff and security has also been reported.

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