Rapid Testing To Begin At Pearson Airport

Grant Boone
January 30, 2021

All incoming travellers must be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at Toronto's Pearson Airport starting February 1 at 12:01 p.m., Premier Doug Ford said on January 29.

Ford is announcing that air travellers arriving at Pearson Airport from another country must undergo a rapid COVID-19 test. Starting at 12:01 PM on Monday, they will be issued a $750 fine if they don't agree to the testing.

"That's why our government is taking immediate and decisive action, which includes mandatory testing of incoming worldwide travellers and providing additional layers of protection for the people of Ontario, especially our seniors. That's why I have advocated for these changes and enhanced federal quarantine enforcement, why the GTHA Mayors and Chairs supported stricter travel measures earlier this week, and why I have supported Premier Ford's calls for mandatory testing at our airports", he said.

The premier expressed deep concern over the arrival of new variants of the virus, which evidence is suggesting could be both more contagious and more deathly.

While the average number of cases slowly declines, the situation in Ontario hospitals remains critical.

The Ontario government will swab those who land here using rapid testing kits as part of the plan to contain the spread of the virus and its more contagious variants such as the United Kingdom strain.

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Despite the challenges, India moved ahead with proactive public participation, said the Prime Minister. India is also supplying the vaccine to a few nations on a commercial basis that includes Canada.

Any global travellers refusing to take the mandatory tests will face fines of $750.

Ford says the plan includes mandatory on-arrival testing of worldwide travellers. Provincial labs will begin that initiative February 3, with the goal of screening all positive tests in the province.

Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said the figures that his health team will be taking into account when assessing when to open things up again also include things like ICU admissions and capacity, and that the original goals set were in regards to the regular COVID-19 strain. The entire household of all contacts and symptomatic individuals will also be asked to stay home until the contact has a negative test.

Enhancing protections for vulnerable populations: Dependent on supply from the federal government, the province will continue with the accelerated vaccination of residents in long-term care, high-risk retirement and First Nations elder care homes.

Leveraging data: The province will work with a made-in-Ontario technology company DNAstack to immediately establish a genomics databank and real-time analytics dashboard to empower the province's public health officials and improve the government's planning related to pandemic response. So far there are 51 confirmed cases of the UK COVID-19 variant in Ontario.

"I don't anticipate the vast majority will refuse that test", said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

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