Coronavirus Canada Updates: Ontario launches voluntary COVID testing at Toronto’s Pearson airport

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Coronavirus Canada Updates: Ontario launches voluntary COVID testing at Toronto's Pearson airport
Coronavirus Canada Updates: Ontario launches voluntary COVID testing at Toronto's Pearson airport

The Ontario government launched a new COVID-19 testing program at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Wednesday for international travellers arriving in the province.

The pilot program will be free and voluntary. Travellers will continue to be required to follow a mandatory 14-day quarantine after arriving or returning to Canada, regardless if they have a negative or positive test, the province said.

That plan differs from Alberta’s trial, in which a negative test result allows travellers to be freed from quarantine if they commit to a follow-up test.

“With over 60,000 international passengers coming into Pearson airport every week, we can’t take any unnecessary risks,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement.

“That’s why we’re putting in place this new pilot program to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and respond to new threats like the recent strain of the virus we’re seeing in an alarming number of countries without the same travel restrictions as the U.K.”

The testing program at Pearson airport comes as COVID-19 cases increase across the province and amid concerns about the spread of a new coronavirus variant found in the U.K.

Ontario’s new testing program begins Wednesday in partnership with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority. It coincides with the federal government’s pre-departure requirement for travellers entering Canada to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 result from a test taken three days prior to departure.

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