International visitors to be offered rapid Covid-19 tests

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A pilot project will allow international travelers to avoid a 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Canada if they agree and test negative to a rapid Covid-19 test upon arrival and a second test within seven days. The story was first reported by The Toronto Star newspaper.

The project will begin November 2 at Calgary International Airport and at the Coutts, Alberta/Sweet Grass, Montana land crossing. Previously, international flights into Canada were only permitted to land at Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

According to a press release from the government of Alberta, travelers who participate will receive a Covid-19 test upon entry into Canada before proceeding into the required quarantine.

Once the test comes back negative, they will then be allowed to leave their place of quarantine so long as they commit to getting a second test on day six or seven after arrival, at a community pharmacy participating in the pilot program.

Participants will be closely monitored through daily symptoms checks. They will also be required to follow enhanced preventive health measures, such as wearing masks in public and avoiding visiting high-risk groups.

Non-exempt participants will be required to remain in Alberta for the first 14 days, the period normally associated with a quarantine. They may also be issued tickets if they fail to respect the public health requirements of the pilot.

Eligible candidates must be returning Canadian citizens, permanent residents or foreign nationals currently permitted entry into Canada and who have no symptoms.

“Any changes to public health measures, including testing and quarantine requirements must be supported by strong scientific evidence. This is why we are moving forward with this program, as part of our efforts to gradually restart economic activity and keep protecting Canadians at the same time,” said Patty Hajdu, Canadian Minister of Health.

The U.S./Canada border closure agreement was recently extended until November 21.

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