A new pilot project at the Calgary International Airport will allow travelers to visit Mazatlán for vacation and upon returning to Canada be tested for COVID-19 in order to avoid the 14-day quarantine. The new rapid testing will be available for anyone that has traveled abroad and is returning to Canada via Calgary International Airport.
The federal government of Canada, along with the provincial government in Alberta, have jointly announced that a new pilot program launched in Alberta will see the mandatory 14-day quarantine greatly reduced to around 48 hours for travelers returning home.
The program can be used by ALL returning Canadians, as long as they return to Canada via the Calgary Airport. They do not have to be a resident of Alberta, but they do have to remain in Alberta for 7 days in order to take the 2nd required test.
“This announcement is welcomed by WestJet and I applaud and thank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Jason Kenney for taking this important step in providing peace of mind to anxious travelers. WestJet has been advocating for a science-based rapid testing solution to help safely ease the quarantine requirements. With our home and largest hub in Calgary, guests from the province will be the first to experience this extremely important trial as an alternative to a 14-day quarantine.”
Ed Sims, CEO, WestJet
The pilot project will launch November 2nd, 2020 at the Calgary International Airport.
Edmonton airport is expected to be the second airport taking part. This will effectively allow Albertan’s (or travelers returning into Alberta from abroad) to travel abroad and not face a mandatory 14-day quarantine when returning home.
For example, a Calgarian traveler could take a vacation to Mazatlán and upon returning home be released from quarantine within 48 hours if the test results are negative.
Here is how the Canada Rapid Test Pilot Will Work
- Only Calgary International airport and Coutts land border will be included for the initial pilot program
- Returning international travelers will take a Rapid Covid-19 test upon landing at the Calgary International Airport or crossing the land border at Coutts, Travelers will then self-isolate for 24-48 hours until test results are complete.
- If the test is negative, passengers are asking to still remain in Alberta for 14 days, but they do not have to quarantine but are asked to not visit high-risk areas (like care homes for example)
- If the test is positive, passengers must quarantine for 14 days
- All returning travelers, even if they receive negative results, will be monitored for 7 days and report daily symptom checks
- On the 6th or 7th day, all travelers will then take a second rapid COVID-19 test at a participating pharmacy.
“YYC Calgary International Airport is proud to be the only airport in Canada to have a government-approved testing pilot for arriving international passengers—which we hope will lead to reducing and one day eliminating the current 14-day self-isolation requirements. This innovative science-based testing is the lifeline our airport and airline partners need to instill confidence in air travel.”
Bob Sartor, President and CEO, Calgary Airport Authority
Most countries globally have already implemented a similar procedure, putting the Canadian government under pressure on why they still had such a draconian protocol as the 14-day quarantine still in place.
Some Canadians have been critical of the 14 day quarantine saying that many travelers ignored the self-isolation orders.