Should Canada Impose Travel Restrictions as a Measure Against Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)? How will this affect the Incoming International Students, Temporary Foreign Workers and Visitors?

As of February 7, 2020, a total of 72 States Parties were identified to be implementing travel restrictions through official reports, official statements and the media. And as of March 10, 2020, there are 79 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada. 

Given the situation, should Canada Impose Travel Restrictions as a Measure Against Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)? How will this affect the Incoming International Students, Temporary Foreign Workers and Visitors?

Should Canada Impose Travel Restrictions as a Measure Against Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)?

Here's an interesting piece from the Lancet Medical Journal: Do not violate the International Health Regulations during the COVID-19 outbreak.
"In imposing travel restrictions against China during the current outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), many countries are violating the IHR. We—16 global health law scholars—came to this conclusion after applying the interpretive framework of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and reaching a jurisprudential consensus on the legal meaning of IHR Article 43."
According to International Health Regulations, countries can only restrict trade or travel during outbreaks if the following conditions are met:
  • Must be supported by science
  • shall not be more restrictive of international traffic and not more invasive or intrusive to persons than reasonably available alternatives
  • Must be with full respect for the dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons
The rationale is to protect people and economies from undue harm, as well as to ensure that the next country to find disease within its territories is not discouraged from reporting the outbreak to international authorities.

But should Canada imposed travel restrictions, how will this affect the Incoming International Students, Temporary Foreign Workers and Visitors?
  • For visitors, you will just have to reschedule your travel and rebook your flight
  • For Temporary Foreign Workers, you will have to coordinate with your Employer and hope that by the time the restriction is lifted, the employer still needs you
  • For International Students, you will have to apply for deferral and wait until the restriction is lifted
But is there a chance that Canada impose travel restrictions? 

So far, Canada’s response to COVID-19 outbreak has been measured, science-based and fully in compliance with International Health Regulations. We can only hope that it stay the course.