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Timeline to test travelers arriving in the air


OTTAWA – Federal officials have yet to decide when new COVID-19 arrival testing requirements for all air travelers arriving from outside Canada will take effect, or whether the policy will be expanded to include those from the United States.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said that although discussions have started with the provinces on the travel measures recently announced by Omicron, no decision has yet been made on whether the policy will apply to American travelers, but the government is ready to do it if necessary.

“Depending on how the situation evolves, depending on the conditions in the United States… It’s always very fluid, but if the circumstances change, we will change our decision,” he said.

On Tuesday, the federal government announced that international travelers will soon be tested at the airport when they land in Canada, in addition to the existing pre-departure test requirement, but did not set a date for this news. rules would come into effect.

Those who are vaccinated will need to self-isolate until they test negative, and those who are not vaccinated will need to continue to isolate for the full 14 days and test on the first and eighth day of their quarantine. .

Ahead of a caucus meeting on Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in French that the government aims to implement the policy as soon as possible, given the increased testing capacity needed across all airports currently accepting international travelers. He suggested it could be in the days or the week to come.

While the Canadian Airports Council praised the speed of the decision, President Daniel-Robert Gooch is concerned about the possibility of testing almost everyone arriving from overseas given current travel rates.

“The only operationally feasible way to test 100% of arriving international travelers – from all countries except the United States – is to provide offsite tests, such as those that travelers can take at their homes or at an airport. another point of self-isolation, ”he said in a statement. “We urge the Government of Canada to work with Canada’s airports and air carriers in the coming hours to ensure that these measures, which have not been discussed in detail, are operationally feasible.”

When asked if airport staff would be able to handle the new blanket test order given the upcoming holiday travel season, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said the government “n ‘will spare no expense “.

“We will make sure that our airports, our frontline agents can handle the volume,” Mendicino said.

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