COVID-19: Ottawa restores random screening at airports

COVID-19: Ottawa reinstates random testing in health centers roports

UP & Agrave; DAY

Double-vaccinated travelers arriving in the country could once again be selected for testing at airports, as the federal government announced on Thursday that it would soon resume random testing, much to the chagrin of the tourism and travel industry.

“Testing has been and still is a major part of our surveillance program to track the importation of the COVID-19 virus into Canada and to identify new variants of concern,” the Public Health Agency said Thursday. of Canada by press release. 

The change will come into effect on July 19, 2022 for travelers arriving in Canada by air at the four main Canadian airports: Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.

To be considered fully immunized travelers entering Canada, you must have received at least one primary series of a federally accepted COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 calendar days prior to arrival in the country. 

Recall that on June 11, 2022, as part of a strategy to transition out-of-airport screening tests for air travellers, the Government of Canada suspended mandatory random screening tests for people traveling by air.

– Listen to Alexandre Dubé's interview with Diane Lamarre on QUB radio:

“All COVID-19 testing […] will be performed outside of airports, either during an in-person appointment at certain locations (stores or pharmacies) of testing providers, or during a virtual appointment for a self-screening test. Travelers who are not considered fully immunized, unless exempt, should continue to be tested on Day 1 and Day 8 of their mandatory 14-day quarantine,” the agency said. Public Health Agency of Canada.

Tourism industry shocked

The Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable, which brings together a group of companies in the sector, expressed its dissatisfaction in a press release on Thursday.

“As our industry works with government, agencies and partners to combat wait times and delays, this announcement marks a step backwards that unfairly targets the tourism sector in Canada and negatively impacts travelers Canadian and international,” the Table said.

“The reimposition of these measures is an unnecessary and unhelpful step backwards that continues to put Canada at odds with its partners. international markets and which points the finger at air transport as being the only consumer activity in the country subject to strict sanitary measures.”

The Conservative Party of Canada has protested against a decision which will “harm Canadian travelers and the tourism industry.”

Leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre also believes that this will “make things worse for travelers.” “Stop the political theater and fix the problems at the airports,” he pleaded.