The federal government says that because the COVID-19 situation in Canada is improving, vaccinated travellers will soon no longer need a PCR test to enter Canada. Beginning February 28th, travellers can instead opt for a rapid antigen test that is performed in a medical facility. While some experts say they would like to see testing dropped entirely, they agree it’s a step in the right direction.
Rapid tests cost about $40 and only take 15 minutes to complete. PCR’s are not only pricey but according to infectious disease expert Dr. Zain Chagla, they’re not as useful. The state of Canada’s hospitals will determine whether more measures are lifted. Dr. Chagla feels keeping future variants out of Canada doesn’t include intense testing at airports.
Arriving travellers will be subjected to random PCR testing but won’t have to isolate while awaiting their results. Additionally, unvaccinated children under 12, who are accompanied by vaccinated adults, won’t have to isolate at home for 2 weeks in order to return to school or childcare.
For those who haven’t received a jab, unvaccinated foreign nationals are still barred from entering Canada, and unvaccinated Canadians will need to be tested upon arrival and again eight days after arrival and have to isolate for 14 days.
Last week, the CEO of WestJet announced that they will be canceling 20% of their flights in March due to a drop in travelers. With march break about a month away Marvin Ryder from the DeGroote school of business says the airline has some time to rethink things. “I don’t know how fast WestJet can put flights back together they might be able to. They might be able to do it seeing that it’s a month from now, to accelerate their schedule and get closer to a full schedule.”