In a letter to Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Air Canada’s chief medical officer, Dr. Jim Chung is urging the Canadian government to consider a science-based approach to easing the Quarantine Act restrictions, which have been essentially unchanged since March, to strike a better balance for travellers and for the Canadian economy without adversely impacting public health.
Air Canada said that it is not proposing relaxing the U.S. border restrictions at this time – only to replace the quarantine requirements for those countries with a low COVID-19 risk from a public health perspective with more proportionate, evidence-based measures and experiences from other countries.
The airline points out that other G20 countries have implemented practical, evidence-based approaches to travel by minimizing the risk of COVID-19 exposure through a range of measures endorsed by medical professionals worldwide including:
- Determination of safe corridors or travel between approved jurisdictions with fewer cases on the basis of low risk from a public health perspective (an approach adopted in the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal among others)
- Requirement for a pre-departure, medically certified negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the country (Caribbean islands)
- Waiver of quarantine requirements following a negative test on arrival (Iceland, Austria, Luxembourg)
- Mandatory testing on arrival (South Korea, Hong Kong, Macao, United Arab Emirates)
A full copy of the letter is available at https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/about/media/media-features/science-based-alternative.html .
The carrier says that it has been at the forefront of the airline industry in responding to COVID-19, including being among the first carriers globally to require customer face coverings onboard and the first airline in the Americas to take customers’ temperatures prior to boarding. In May it introduced a comprehensive program, Air Canada CleanCare+, to apply industry leading biosafety measures at each stage of the journey.
Air Canada has recently undertaken several medical collaborations to further advance biosafety across its business, including with Cleveland Clinic Canada for medical advisory services, Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience to explore portable COVID-19 testing technology and, since 2019, with Toronto-based BlueDot for real-time infectious disease global monitoring.
Go to www.aircanada.com for more.