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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new travel measures Friday in hopes of deterring sun-seeking travellers, and to slow the spread of new coronavirus variants.

Flights to Mexico and the Caribbean will grind to a halt on Sunday as Ottawa and airlines announced a deal to suspend flights to the sun destinations until April 30.

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The airlines will co-ordinate return flights with travellers currently abroad, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference on Friday.

In the coming weeks the federal government will also introduce mandatory COVID-19 testing upon arrival at airports, and this will be on top of the pre-boarding requirement for a negative COVID-19 test, Mr. Trudeau said.

Following the second test, travellers will have to wait three days at a designated hotel for their test result. Mr. Trudeau said the hotel stays will cost travellers more than $2,000. If the traveller’s second test is negative, they will be able to complete their 14-day quarantine at home “under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement.”

However if travellers test positive they will have to complete their 14-day quarantine in a designated government facility to make sure they’re not carrying variants of “particular concern,” Mr. Trudeau said.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, usually written by Chris Hannay. Janice Dickson is filling in today. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said Friday that Canada’s other vaccine supplier, Moderna, has to cut back on its deliveries next week. Moderna will ship only about three-quarters of the expected supply, cutting Canada’s next shipment by more than 50,000 doses.

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Researchers behind the development of a new COVID-19 vaccine from U.S. drug-maker Novavax say it provides strong protection against the British and South African variants of the virus.

A group of Canadian lawyers is offering a free service for Hong Kong lawyers worried they and their families may one day have to flee China’s unprecedented crackdown on the former British territory. Operation Document Park will allow Hong Kong lawyers to quietly store their “life documents,” such as birth or marriage certificates or proof of education, in Canada in case they have to leave Hong Kong in a hurry.

The federal deficit stood at $232-billion in November, with four months left in the fiscal year, according to the Finance Department’s monthly tracking of Ottawa’s bottom line. The deficit for the April-to-November period of the previous year, before the pandemic hit, was just $11.8-billion.

Tanya Talaga (The Globe and Mail) writes an Indigenous governor-general wouldn’t mean reconciliation. It would mean nothing: “Some people – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous – have argued that giving this $270,602-salaried post to an Indigenous person would be a true sign that Canada is ready for reconciliation. But really, it would be a shocking ask of any Indigenous person, considering that the monarchy has spent centuries looking the other way while crimes of colonialism were being committed.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) asks: Maybe an ex-CEO and his actress wife jumped the vaccine queue as an act of charity?: “It’s a shame no one has considered a more generous interpretation of the trip taken by Rod and Ekaterina Baker to the remote Northern community of Beaver Creek in Yukon, where the multi-millionaire one-per-centers instantly became two-per-centers (that is, part of the 2 per cent of Canadians who have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine).”

Doug Saunders (The Globe and Mail) writes: Can Biden rescue Canada from our China crisis? This Australian PM thinks so: “He came into office as an optimistic prime minister seeking friendship with China. Two years later, facing multiple conflicts with Beijing – including the imprisonment of citizens on questionable grounds and the cancellation of resource-company investment deals – he adopted a more confrontational and critical stance. Kevin Rudd, who was Australia’s prime minister in 2007-10 and again in 2013, has little else in common with Justin Trudeau.”

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Andrew MacDougall (The Ottawa Citizen) writes: O’Toole should place morality at the heart of his plan: “Having demonstrated leadership in expelling Derek Sloan from caucus and shooing the far right away, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole now faces the challenge of motivating his remaining troops ahead of this year’s probable election. It’s a tall order.”

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