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‘We need to protect each other’: How travellers arriving in Montreal are handling new COVID-19 rules

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Passengers arriving in Montreal complain about hotel quarantine booking process' Coronavirus: Passengers arriving in Montreal complain about hotel quarantine booking process
WATCH: International travellrs touching down at Montreal's Trudeau airport now face new health measures and restrictions. According to the rules, travellers must quarantine at a hotel following a COVID-19 test at the airport upon arrival. Both must be booked in advance. But as Global’s Phil Carpenter reports, some passengers argue that the process has been difficult.

In Montreal, travellers coming back from abroad and landing at the Trudeau Airport on Monday are among the first people to undergo a 72-hour mandatory quarantine at their own expense in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Guy Tiegoum wasn’t bothered by the new rules, saying that he had already undergone two tests before leaving Cameroon for Canada.

“I think it’s good,” he said. “We need to protect each other. COVID-19 is still going on, the health crisis is going on.”

The tightened federal measures at the borders include taking multiple novel coronavirus tests in the days after arrival and quarantining for at least three days at hotels. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the new restrictions are not meant to punish travellers, but to protect everyone during the ongoing pandemic.

Read more: Canada adds 2,800 new COVID-19 cases as mandatory travel restrictions come into effect

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The new program has tapped four hotels in Montreal to accommodate people coming back from international flights. All of the hotels are in the immediate vicinity of the airport.

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The hotels housing quarantined travellers are: the Aloft Montreal Airport, the Crowne Plaza Montreal Airport, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Montreal Airport and the Marriott Montreal Airport In-Terminal.

But some travellers say the process to book a hotel has been difficult and that it took hours to even reach someone by phone.

Loveline Akonbeng, who is on her way to Quebec City after her quarantine, told reporters it took her sister three days to help her reserve a room at a designated hotel. Her sister was able to finally snag her a spot on the third day after spending two hours waiting on the phone.

“I was panicked even as my stay was drawing to a close,” Akonbeng said.

Read more: Flying back to Canada? Here’s what you can expect at the new COVID-19 quarantine hotels

In Montreal, she will pay nearly $300 per night for her mandatory 72-hour quarantine, but she understands the measures in place.

“It’s difficult for us who have to pay but it’s necessary,” she said.

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Tiegoum, for his part, said he also had trouble trying to book his stay so he contacted the hotel directly.

“The number the government provided was so difficult to get the agent on the line, so what I did, I did direct reservation and I had to explain to them that I couldn’t get the agent on the line,” he said.

The Aéroports de Montréal (ADM), the authority that oversees the airport, said in a statement that it expects to receive anywhere between 500 and 1,000 international travellers each day this week.

“Passengers flying to Canada are required to take a test before leaving the airport as per the Canadian government measures,” the ADM said.

Click to play video 'Quebec new COVID-19 cases lowest since September' Quebec new COVID-19 cases lowest since September
Quebec new COVID-19 cases lowest since September

— With files from The Canadian Press

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