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

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Staff at Bruce’s Country Market are being asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 after an exposure at the Maple Ridge grocery store. (The News files)
Employee at Maple Ridge grocery store tests positive for COVID-19

All other staff in the department have tested negative for disease

Alouette Heights.
Fire at Alouette Heights in Maple Ridge puts half of residents out of their units

Coast Mental Health said fire was small, but sprinkler system caused damage

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Myrna Norman credits social activity for her success fighting dementia. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge woman writes inspirational book documenting living with dementia

Myrna Norman has been an active community advocate for de-stigmatizing the debilitating disease

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual offences involving a minor in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

The Abbotsford Tulip Festival is permanently closing, with plans to eventually set up in Armstrong, B.C. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Abbotsford Tulip Festival is closing, with plans to rebloom in Armstrong

Event organizer says pandemic and sale of land were factors in decision

Most Read