COVID-19 Pilot Project launched at Canada’s largest airport

Posted by in CIC News, on January 12, 2021

The corona virus screening tests are now available at Toronto Pearson International Airport for all the incoming international travellers.

Ontario has started offering free, voluntary COVID-19 testing to international travellers who are arriving and staying in the province for at least 14 days. The announcement was made at Pearson Airport, Canada’s leading airport, by Premier Doug Ford.

The pilot project introduced by the Government of Ontario started on January 6 and it aims to quickly identify and stop the spread of COVID-19 in the province.

Approximately 60,000 international passengers arrive at Pearson Airport every week, which includes a large proportion of international students, temporary workers and permanent residents who are immigrating to Canada.

According to the Government, the pilot project “will test, track and help isolate cases of COVID-19 at an early stage and is a big step forward in protecting the Canada’s borders.”

The passengers who meet the eligibility requirements will be able to pre-register for the test program or register to participate when they arrive at the airport. And all those who choose to take part in the pilot project will get a free self-collected PCR test and will be monitored by a health care provider, either in person or by video, when they self-administer the test. Controlled self-administered tests will be conducted in a convenient, dedicated area within the airport.

Test results will be available within 2 days on the Ontario Laboratory Information System and public health units will follow up in the event of a positive test. However, the tests will not exempt travellers from mandatory quarantine when they arrive.

It should be also be noted that all international travellers arriving in or returning to Canada must meet the 14-day federal mandatory quarantine requirement, whether they test negative or positive for COVID-19.

This program is in addition to the Canadian government’s new measure, which came into effect on January 7, requiring travellers entering Canada to prove that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within three days of travelling and arriving in Canada. Travellers are required to organize their own pre-departure screening using the means available at their place of departure.

The Province of Ontario has stated that it will continue to work with the federal government to possibly introduce a modified quarantine period for those who test negative for Covid-19.

A similar project for COVID-19 had already been launched in November at the Calgary Airport, in Alberta.

According to Alberta Health, the pilot project has been successful and will continue despite new screening measures announced in recent weeks by the federal government of Canada.

Canada’s borders are closed to most foreign nationals until at least January 21, 2021, but with a number of exemptions.  

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