Ontario now offers free, voluntary Covid-19 testing to all foreign travelers arriving and staying for a minimum of 14 days. This testing facility is for those who will stay in the province for 14 days.
This announcement was made at Pearson Airport, which is Canada’s leading airport, according to Premier Doug Ford.
This is a pilot project that was introduced by the Government of Ontario. It started on January 6 and targets to quickly identify and prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
Above 60,000 international passengers arrive at the airport every week. This includes a major chunk of global students, permanent residents, and temporary workers. They are the ones who immigrate to Canada.
As per a news release, this Covid-19 testing pilot project “will test, track and help isolate cases of COVID-19 at an early stage and is a major step forward in protecting [Canada’s] borders.”
Those meeting the eligibility requirements may pre-register themselves for the test program. They may also register to participate upon arrival at the Pearson International Airport.
Those taking part in the pilot project will receive a free self-collected PCR test. They shall also be monitored by a health care provider. This shall be either by video or in-person when they self-administer the test.
They will conduct the controlled self-administer tests in a dedicated and convenient area within the airport.
Results of the test will be made available within 48 hours on the Ontario Laboratory Information System. There will be a follow up by the public health units if the test results of any person are positive.
However, these tests will not exclude any traveler from mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Canada.
It is important to note that all global travelers entering or even returning to Canada will have to fulfill the 14-day quarantine period. This is a federal mandate and needs to be followed even if your test result is negative.
This pilot program is in addition to the Canadian government’s new measure that started on January 7. This new measure requires all travelers entering Canada to prove that their Covid-19 test result is negative. They need to prove this fact within three days of traveling to Canada.
It is important for travelers to organize their own pre-departure screening with the means available at their country of departure.
Ontario has also stated that it will carry on working with the federal government in its aim of introducing a modified quarantine period. This quarantine period will be for those who test negative for Covid-19.
There has been a launch of a similar screening project for Covid-19 at the Calgary Airport in Alberta. This was launched in November last year.
As per Alberta Health, the pilot Covid-19 testing project has tasted success so far and will continue to do so in the days to come. This is in spite of various new screening measures that were announced in recent weeks by the Canadian federal government.
The borders of Canada are still off-limits to most foreign nationals. This shall remain so until January 21, 2021, with some exemptions.
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