Steve Duesing provided the Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington with a selfie he took while in forced isolation at a Dixon Rd. hotel.PHOTO BY STEVE DUESING /Toronto Sun
You will have to forgive Steve Duesing for not believing there are no COVID-19 internment centres in Canada.
“I’m in one,” the 34-year-old Scarborough man told the Toronto Sun on Tuesday.
Not by choice.
“I was told when I arrived (at Pearson International Airport) Sunday night from Charlotte that it was either three days quarantine or go to jail.”
So he was escorted on a shuttle bus from Pearson to the nearby Radisson Hotel on Dixon Rd. But this is no normal hotel stay.
“I am not allowed to leave the room,” he said. “There is a guard at the end of the hall.”
So, he must remain in a ninth-floor hotel room while waiting for the results of a COVID test he was forced to take.
A photo taken by Steve Duesing of the hallway at the Radisson hotel on Dixon Rd. where he’s being forced to stay after landing at Pearson.Steve Duesing
Joined by award-winning photographer Jack Boland, I interviewed Steve on the phone from the parking lot as we looked at him through the window of his room where he could see Tim Hortons, Harvey’s, Subway and Swiss Chalet.
“But I was told I can’t order in food,” said Steve.
He’s effectively incarcerated.
“It feels like that,” he said. “I don’t have any say in it.”
The worst part is before he left from visiting a friend in North Carolina, he got a COVID-19 test as required by new rules.
“It cost me $130,” he said. “I tested negative.”
Duesing said his ordeal began when the Public Health Agency of Canada didn’t accept this rapid test and ordered him detained until the results of their own test were known. The agency did not respond to the Sun‘s request for a comment.
“I was escorted by police to a shuttle bus and taken to this hotel, which is fenced off from the public.”
It definitely has a detention centre feel to it. There is a barrier preventing anybody from coming and going and a security detail checks every vehicle entering the property.
Steve Duesing speaks to the Toronto Sun’s Joe Warmnington from his ninth-floor hotel suite on Feb. 2, 2021 where he is in forced quarantine. JACK BOLAND/TORONTO SUNPHOTO BY JACK BOLAND, TORONTO SUN /Toronto Sun
It’s a lonely, solitary existence, added Steve. “I should be allowed to leave at 10 p.m. tonight (Tuesday).”
This doesn’t seem legal in a free country. It also seems punitive. If he had a fever or cough, perhaps precautionary measures of some kind could be taken.
But taking away someone’s liberty is obscene. It feels like a violation of basic human rights in a country that purports to champion such freedoms.
A notice in his room said, “You must remain in your assigned room and are required to limit face-to-face contact with others outside of your immediate room assignment.”
A sandwich provided to Steve Duesing during his forced hotel stay after landing at Pearson.Steve Duesing