Ontario is set to make testing mandatory upon arrival for all incoming international travelers to the country’s largest airport in a bid to control the faster-spreading coronavirus variants.
The new measure will take effect on Monday at Toronto Pearson International Airport, according to a senior government source with knowledge of the announcement. The source was granted anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The new travel measure, part of a new six-point plan to target more contagious COVID-19 variants, will be announced on Friday afternoon at a press conference with Premier Doug Ford and the province’s top health official, David Williams.
Ontario also plans to broaden testing to include U.S. border crossings into the province, the source said, and to roll out more rapid tests at long-term care homes and schools.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also expected to announce new travel restrictions on Friday, which include measures to prevent people from travelling as well as ones to discourage it. Options on the table include increasing the number of people dedicated to enforcing the 14-day quarantine, to requiring all returning non-essential travellers to quarantine at a government-designated hotel at their own expense.
Mr. Ford’s government has already launched a voluntary pilot project at Pearson airport to test incoming travellers. According to data released by the province, 2.26 per cent of 6,850 passengers tested at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport were positive for COVID-19 and four of those cases are suspected variants. Other data collected by the province in December show people are not following the current 14-day quarantine rule, which has little enforcement.
As of Jan. 7, Ottawa required all travellers flying into Canada to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three days of travelling.
Ontario reported 1,837 new cases of COVID-19 today and 58 more deaths.
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