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Air travellers entering Canada must have a negative COVID-19 test before arrival, Ottawa says

CBSA has also boosted its presence in airports to reinforce public health messaging

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Raisa Patel · CBC News · 

Air passengers entering Canada will soon need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before arriving in the country, the federal government announced today.

Under the new protocol, travellers must receive a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within a 72-hour period prior to boarding a plane. Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said he expects the new rule will be in force within a week.

The measure does not replace the federal government’s mandatory 14-day quarantine period, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair warned.

“This is not an alternative to quarantine. It’s an additional layer,” Blair said during a public health briefing.

He said Ottawa is discussing implementing more testing protocols at land points of entry with a number of provincial health authorities, but added that effort involves “issues of some complexity” the government is still working through.

The federal government hasn’t fully explained how the pre-boarding testing will be administered to incoming travellers, though Transport Minister Marc Garneau — who is in talks with airlines and officials in his department — is expected to share more details Thursday.

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