Justin Trudeau – Ontario to implement mandatory COVID-19 tests for international arrivals at Pearson airport: source
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is set to announce mandatory COVID-19 testing for all incoming international travellers at Toronto Pearson International Airport, according to a government source.
The province also plans to expand the availability of rapid COVID-19 tests in priority settings, like long-term care and high-risk retirement homes, essential workplaces and schools, the source said.
The news was first reported by the Toronto Star on Friday.
Ford is scheduled to hold a news conference at Queen’s Park beginning at 3 p.m. ET today. You’ll be able to watch it live in this story.
The announcement would come as Ontario deals with an increasing number of COVID-19 cases caused by variants of the virus. Revised forecasts released by public health officials on Thursday suggest that by March, the B117 variant first identified in the United Kingdom could be the dominant strain in Ontario.
In recent weeks, Ford has repeatedly called for mandatory testing at Pearson along with more stringent federal travel restrictions aimed at countries where new variants are detected.
“We have to test every person that comes into Pearson and any other crossing. It’s absolutely critical. We need to put barriers up every which way we can,” Ford told reporters on Monday.
“I can’t emphasize enough: close down our borders and make sure anyone that’s coming in gets tested.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau then said on Tuesday that new travel-related measures could be coming soon, and even went so far as to advise Canadians to cancel any travel plans.
Recent provincial data shows that just 1.8 per cent of all traceable COVID-19 cases in Ontario were related to international travel. That figure falls to about 1 per cent for all traceable cases since Sept. 1, 2020, during the second wave of the illness.
Further, international travel is the only category of likely transmission source that has not grown exponentially over the course of the pandemic.