MONTREAL -- Ottawa is assuring Canadians that migrants and refugees who cross the Canadian border irregularly, at Roxham Rd., for instance, will be subject to screening and quarantine measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

At a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon, Federal Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair said asylum seekers will be subjected to medical tests by border officials to detect potential symptoms of the virus.

Normally, those seeking asylum would be redirected to temporary shelters in Montreal. But the federal government is now changing that protocol, placing them in shelters in a location that has yet to be announced to observe a 14-day solitary confinement period.

Blair believes it is in the “best interest” of all Canadians to do this.

Jean-Pierre Fortin, the president of the Customs and Immigration Union, said that as of Tuesday morning, border agents had told him that asylum seekers were not being subjected to a period of compulsory isolation.