It is not yet the abolition of mandatory quarantine for all travellers entering Canada, but a small glow that points to the end of the tunnel for all those who have their wings cut off by this measure put in place by the Government of Canada to stop the spread of COVID-19. Alberta will implement a rapid testing program for COVID-19 to replace the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon entry to Canada.
A joint pilot program between the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada – the first of its kind in the country – will safely test this alternative to the current 14-day quarantine requirement for international travellers while continuing to protect Canadians from COVID-19.
Until further notice from the federal government, travellers returning to Canada continue to be legally required to quarantine for 14 days after entering the country.
The new pilot project announced on October 22 will explore the possibility of using a rigorous testing and monitoring program as a strategy to reduce the mandatory quarantine period, while ensuring the safety of Canadians.
Starting November 2, the COVID-19 rapid test will initially be offered at two ports of entry in Canada: the Coutts land border crossing and the Calgary International Airport in Alberta.
Travellers participating in this program will undergo a COVID-19 test upon entry into Canada before moving to mandatory quarantine.
Once the test is negative, they will be allowed to leave their quarantine site provided they agree to take a second test on the sixth or seventh day after arrival at a local pharmacy participating in the pilot program.
Participants will be closely monitored by daily symptom checks. They will also be required to follow enhanced preventive health measures, such as wearing masks in public places and avoiding visiting high-risk groups.
If the rapid testing for COVID-19 proves successful, then there is every reason to believe that the procedure will be extended to other major airports in Canada such as Montreal, for example.
Do you feel the sea air that is gradually getting closer to your masked nostrils?