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What’s the deal with Covid camps in Canada?

Government denies building internment camps, asks people to be vigilant over rumours
In a press conference held on Oct. 20, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked to speak to the veracity of such camps. (Screenshot photo/Lakes District News)

Possibility of the government opening up Covid camps or internment camps has been doing rounds on social media. However, the Prime Minister, Health Canada and other government officials are warning people against believing and spreading misinformation around any such camps.

Earlier last month, Rebel News released a story on a camp in Manitoba that had barbed wires around it. The story caused quite a social media outrage with some people suggesting that the camp was supposed to be an internment camp. However, in a press conference held on Oct. 20, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about whether there was any truth to news of such camps, he said that such reports were part of an effort to “undermine people’s confidence in their institutions, in their democracies.”

Health Canada also tweeted about the issue stating that “Federally designated quarantine sites, typically hotel rooms, are not internment camps. #Misinformation is circulating that Canada is using concentration camps for #COVID19 quarantine. This is completely false.”

They also said that while all travellers coming into Canada are encouraged to quarantine for 14 days and generally chose to quarantine in their own homes, for some that is not an option. They are then encouraged to look for an alternative, either hotels or motels or staying with friends, whatever is within their means.

“If travellers to Canada are confirmed to have no other suitable options available, they may be transferred to a designated #GoC quarantine facility. This measure is used as a last resort,” said the tweet.

The camp, that was a work camp has been fixed up by the Manitoba Metis Foundation with a capacity to handle 100 Canadians, should the need for quarantining more people arises.

Local MLA John Rustad was unaware of any plans to have camps like the ones in Manitoba, come to British Columbia, when Black Press Media spoke with him last week.

“I just had a briefing today with Dr. Bonnie Henry and we talked about the situation in B.C. and as far as I know, there is nothing being contemplated like that sort in B.C. But, if there are people needing to be isolated, they need to be isolated at home; I don’t think we should be going to the point where we are forcing people into camp environment,” he said, adding that if ever a camp is planned where people are forced into quarantine, he would consider it draconian and wouldn’t support it.

While the camp in Manitoba is ready for use, it hasn’t yet been used for quarantining patients and there is no evidence suggesting the camp would be used to forcibly quarantine Covid-patients.

During the press conference, while responding to questions about any such potential internment camps all over Canada, Trudeau denied having any plans of such camps and said that there is a tremendous amount of noise and harmful misinformation about the pandemic on the Internet and that “we need to continue to be attentive to source, we need to continue to be attentive to comparing various reports and looking for trusted sources.”

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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Priyanka Ketkar

About the Author: Priyanka Ketkar

Priyanka Ketkar has been a journalist since 2011 with extensive experience in community-driven news writing, feature writing, and editing.
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