Out of nearly 7,000 COVID-19 tests conducted as part of a recently launched voluntary pilot project at Toronto Pearson International Airport, 146 have come back positive – resulting in a 2.26 per cent positivity rate.
These details on the pilot project were provided ahead of Premier Doug Ford speaking at Canada’s largest airport on Tuesday afternoon.
The premier and Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott are scheduled to visit Pearson Airport at 1 p.m.
A photo opportunity, as well as a brief question and answer period with members of the media, is expected to take place at this time, according to a statement from the premier’s office.
The pilot program, which was launched on Jan. 6, offers voluntary testing for the disease to any international travellers.
Since then, 6,580 tests have been performed at Pearson Airport.
Of the positive tests, four have been screened as potential U.K. variant and will undergo further investigation.
While speaking at the airport this afternoon, Ford is expected to reiterate his government’s calls to the feds for mandatory testing for all travellers arriving from outside the country.
“I can’t stress this enough. We have to test every person that comes in to Pearson, and any other land crossing. It’s absolutely critical. We need to put barriers up every which way we can,” the premier said during a news conference on Monday.
“Every time I look up in the sky I’m thinking how many cases are coming in. This has to stop.”
According to the federal government, at least 156 flights have landed in Canada between Jan. 10 and Jan. 23 that had passengers who tested positive for the novel coronavirus after arriving in the country. Of the flights, 76 landed in Toronto.
There were also 70 domestic flights that had a passenger later test positive for the disease.
The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020, with the latest extension set to expire on Feb. 21. Travellers must show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their travel date and must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.