Air Canada and Shoppers Drug Mart Offer Rapid Pre-Flight COVID-19 Testing for International Passengers

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OTTAWA – Air Canada passengers who wish to travel during the holidays can now take a rapid pre-departure COVID-19 test at Shoppers Drug Mart stores in Ottawa and across Ontario. The airline has announced a partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart for Air Canada customers to receive a COVID-19 RT-PRC test in order to comply with international travel requirements.

Air Canada says the test will be available to travelers traveling to destinations requiring a negative COVID-19 test, including Hawaii, the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Antigua, Barbuda and Saint Lucia.

In a statement, the airline said that as of December 7, eligible Air Canada customers can book and purchase a COVID-19 test at participating Shoppers Drug Mart locations in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

Results are usually available within 24 to 48 hours.

“Many countries now require a negative COVID-19 test before departure and we are happy to make this process easier for our customers, making their travel experience easier and safer by recommending the RT-PCR test at select Shoppers Drug stores. Mart, ”said Dr. Jim Chung, Chief Medical Officer of Air Canada.

Speaking on Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron, Michelle Hoad of the Association of Medical Laboratory Professionals of Ontario said the rapid test raises reliability concerns.

“From a laboratory perspective, we are not in favor of the rapid test. This is because of the precision and reliability; they’re a huge concern, ”Hoad said, noting that a rapid test is about 94% effective.

“So that means six percent of the tests performed are not correct. So six percent of the population may get wrong results. ”

Hoad also wonders why Air Canada has access to the RT-PRC test, when the Ontario government has not received the test.

Last week Hawaii announced that both Air Canada and WestJet would resume service to Hawaii in mid-December. The state said travelers can bypass the 14-day quarantine if they take a COVID-19 test from an approved laboratory 72 hours before departure and receive a negative result before departure.

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