By Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is being allowed to check out from his quarantine hotel roughly 12 hours after checking in.
Trudeau’s office says he received his negative COVID-19 test Wednesday morning and can now leave the three-star Ottawa lodging.
Members of his delegation to Europe who landed in Ottawa around 7 p.m. were tested on arrival and received negative test results the next day at about 8 a.m.
Trudeau was overseas from last Thursday until Tuesday for summits with other G7, NATO and European leaders.
Air travellers landing in Canada without an exemption are currently required to book and pay for a three-night hotel stay but can leave once they receive a negative test result.
An expert review panel recently said the hotel-quarantine policy had no scientific basis and recommended the government scrap it, noting travellers arriving by land face no such rule.
The Opposition Conservatives have slammed the fact the hotel Trudeau stayed at isn’t one of the government-approved accommodations and reiterated its calls for the program to be ended.
“While all other Canadians have to stay in one of four quarantine hotels that have seen COVID-19 outbreaks, sexual assault allegations, and multiple security issues, Justin Trudeau has had a special hotel set up for his quarantine following his trip abroad,” Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner said in a statement Wednesday.
“The Prime Minister only had to spend 10 hours in the hotel as he got his COVID-19 test back overnight, which seems to be a new record.”
Trudeau’s government has spent months defending the policy that requires most Canadians returning by air to stay in a hotel for up to three days at their own expense.
Ottawa has said the policy, along with its slate of other border measures, has been effective at limiting COVID-19 from entering the country, even though provinces have spent most of the spring battling a variant-driven deadly third wave of the pandemic.
Journalists and government staff returning from the Europe trip and staying in the same hotel as Trudeau were told to remain in their rooms and were given lunch boxes on arrival and a boxed breakfast at their door.
Trudeau’s office says he will follow public health rules and advice for Canadians returning from abroad during the pandemic, as will the officials and journalists who also went overseas.
The rules include quarantining for 14 days and taking another COVID-19 test about seven days after arrival.