Wed. Jul 6th, 2022

Melanku Game and his wife Janet Game are worried they might not get home in time for Christmas. A flight to Africa last month to carry out humanitarian work turned into a procedural mess.

“We are in the process of setting up an eight-country regional cancer treatment center for expertise to be built in Ethiopia,” Melaku explained.

The couple has lived in Canada for three decades. Melaku is a physician at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton.

Although the Games flew in and out of Ethiopia, Melakus’ meeting about the Cancer Center in South Africa was one of the countries that Canada recently imposed stricter travel rules due to the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

Read more:

Canadians in South Africa face difficult returns due to new Omicron rules

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When the couple arrived in Toronto, it was 13 days ago that Melaku was in South Africa. Janet had never been to South Africa because she broke her leg and stumbled on a staircase in Ethiopia.

The doctor hoped they would not be quarantined. He is triple vaccinated and Janet is double vaccinated.

Both had negative PCR tests from Ethiopia, he said, and Melaku also had one from South Africa.

READ MORE: Frustration emerges over new COVID-19-related travel rules

But when they arrived, public health authorities told them they still had to isolate themselves. Melaku said he was worried about Janet’s broken leg and asked if there was any alternative.

‘He said we get a fine. And we said it would be okay to receive a fine if we were able to go home and end the required quarantine, ”Melaku explained.

But they did not know how big the fine would be: $ 12,501.


Click to play video: 'Canada announces new travel measures to combat spread of Omicron COVID-19 virus variant'







Canada announces new travel measures to combat the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 virus variant


Canada announces new travel measures to combat spread of Omicron COVID-19 virus variant – 30 November 2021

The worst thing, they say, was that when they went to reach their plane to Edmonton, the couple was rejected. They were told that their names had been marked as being in quarantine in Toronto.

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“It was here that we found out that we are persona non-grata here for Air Canada … or any other airline,” Melaku said.

So they went to a quarantine hotel, where they say they did not get enough food, especially to Janet, who has celiac disease.

“I personally felt I was being treated like a criminal. I have done something wrong while we taxpayers are Canadian citizens,” Janet explained.


Click to play video: 'Celiac woman says she did not eat for 40 hours at quarantine hotel in Toronto'







Celiac woman says she did not eat for 40 hours at Toronto’s quarantine hotel


Celiac woman says she did not eat for 40 hours at Toronto’s quarantine hotel

The couple has since retained a criminal defense attorney, Joseph Neuberger. He said he was disturbed by their experience.

“The games did not get breakfast, they did not get dinner. I have clients in custody who are treated far better than this,” he said.

After Global News made a story about the Games, they finally got appropriate meals.

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READ MORE: Celiac woman says she did not eat for 40 hours while in quarantine hotel in Toronto

But even though they tested negative for COVID-19 on landing in Toronto – they got their results on Sunday – the pair were not released from the quarantine hotel until Thursday, they said.

They say the public health official who cleaned them assured them that they would be able to fly home, but once again they were denied at the airport and told that they were to be quarantined until December 18, told Melaku to Global News.

Now stranded, they found a basement suite to live in while they waited, hoping for a quick fix.


Click to play video: 'Concerns about the conditions in quarantine hotels'







Concerns have been raised about the conditions at quarantine hotels


Concerns have been raised about the conditions at quarantine hotels

“We will apply for a lawsuit with these tickets they have received, and hopefully I will get them over to a lawyer to initiate a lawsuit against the government for this inhuman behavior,” Neuberger said.

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“Travelers who come behind us should receive better treatment in all processes, and they should not go through what we have been through,” Melaku explained.

Global News contacted Canada’s Public Health Agency, but was told it would not discuss individual cases with the media.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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