FILE – A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., Monday, May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

FILE – A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., Monday, May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Canada to require arriving airline passengers to provide proof of negative COVID test

Mandatory 14-day quarantine remains in effect

Arriving airline passengers will soon be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before entering Canada, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced Wednesday (Dec. 30).

The test will need to have been completed 72 hours prior to arrival and must be a PCR test, considered the gold standard of COVID testing. However, having proof of a negative tests will not negate the need for the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair did not provide an exact date for the new testing requirements to come into effect, but said they would be brought in “quickly.” More information is expected on Thursday.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said that enforcement of the quarantine, introduced in March, would also be stepped up. Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said that travellers entering from the U.K. and South Africa, where more contagious variants of COVID have been found, will be subject to a secondary screening.

READ MORE: B.C. has its first confirmed case of COVID-19 variant from the U.K.

“Now is not the time to travel internationally,” Hadju said, noting that travel advisory remains in effect.

Blair said people returning to Canada have both a “legal and moral obligation” to follow quarantine measures and do their utmost to protect others from infection.

Other countries have already brought in a negative test requirement for entry, including Russia, Japan and the Maldives.

Canada is currently in its second wave of the pandemic. The country has had more than 565,506 total confirmed cases and 15,378 deaths. There are at least 72,271 active cases as of Wednesday morning.

According to the Canada Border Services Agency, the number of incoming air passengers for the week of Dec. 14 to 20 was down 90 per cent compared to the same time last year. According to the health officials, law enforcement officials have had to intervene 41,103 times, with compliance being the result 98.8 per cent of the time. There have been 185 verbal warnings, 20 written warnings, 130 tickets and eight charges as a result of non-compliance.

The maximum fine for breaking COVID-19 quarantine rules include a fine of up to $750,000 and imprisonment for up to six months. Anyone whose actions cause a “risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while wilfully or recklessly contravening [the Quarantine Act] could be fined up to $1 million and imprisoned for up to three years, or both.

The move Wednesday comes as Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being rolled out across the country. In B.C., 12,000 people have received their first of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin, vice president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said 1.2 million doses of the two approved vaccines are scheduled to be in provincial hands by the end of January.

READ MORE: B.C. COVID-19 vaccinations reach nearly 12,000 people

READ MORE: More than 15,000 people have died in Canada due to COVID-19


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Accessibility improvements and more classrooms at the Houston Christian School should be completed by the new school year. (Houston Today photo)
Accessibility improvements coming to Houston Christian School

Construction package includes two classrooms

The soft opening of the nature centre at the Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery took place mid-April. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)
Houston hatchery and nature centre’s upcoming events

The conservation group to host summer students this year

Council wants a say in the expansion of long term care services in Smithers. Pictured here is the Bulkley Lodge facility in that community. (Google photo)
Long term care remains on council priority list

Wants to be involved in expansion plans in Smithers

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Most Read