Flights to and from Ontario resulting in dozens of COVID-19 exposures

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TORONTO – Despite a home support order issued in Ontario, people are on the move in and out of the province.

Flights take off and land in Toronto every day, carrying passengers infected with COVID-19.

“He travels between air and people, and he travels from place to place on planes. Air travel has greatly contributed to the global spread. In fact, you could argue that without air travel we wouldn’t have a pandemic, ”said Colin Furness, infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, in an interview with CTV News Toronto.

Air traffic is down at Pearson International Airport. The Greater Toronto Airports Authority says it sees around 150 arriving and departing flights per day, up from 1,300 in 2019. This includes cargo flights carrying personal protective equipment and medical supplies, as well as flights from passengers, many of which are partially filled.

Yet between March 31 and April 11, travelers with COVID-19 took domestic flights to Toronto where no quarantine rules are in place.

Data from the federal government website detailing flights with exhibits shows that there were 18 exhibits out of 18 flights. Six of them from Vancouver, with Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary also on the list.

People infected in Toronto are also flying to other Canadian destinations. Twenty-three flights were listed with exhibits in Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Halifax and several cities in Ontario.

Meanwhile, between March 31 and April 12, 55 international flights landed in Toronto with exhibits.

Most – 16 planes – arrived from Delhi, India, where this spring a so-called “double mutant” variant was detected in the country.

Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and Istanbul are some of the other main countries bringing cases to the province.

“Canada has one of the strongest border measures,” Health Minister Patty Hajdu of the Virtual Parliament said Thursday. “Of course, we will stop at nothing to protect Canadians.

international flights with covid exposure

Responding to questions from CTV News, a spokesperson for Hajdu later said now was not the time to travel and that new measures regarding border measures would continue to be informed by science and advice from public health.

“With variations of concerns spreading around the world, we have taken additional steps to reduce travel, reduce imports and protect Canadians from COVID-19. This includes a mandatory 14-day quarantine and mandatory PCR testing prior to arrival, arrival and Day 10 of all non-essential travelers, ”the spokesperson said.

“Our measures are working – less than 2 percent of known cases of COVID-19 are acquired through travel or exposure to someone who has traveled.

Furness said applying the 2% analysis to domestic flights, he thought it was time to act.

“It’s two out of a hundred. So if the same type of population is traveling to Canada and there’s no reason to think it’s not the same, ”Furness said.

“We shouldn’t have interprovincial travel the same way we shouldn’t have international travel. I know it’s hard to say. We have to do it for weeks, not years, not months, but weeks. And we must do it urgently. “

It highlights the success of the Atlantic bubble which restricts travel to Canadians from outside the region.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Wednesday called on Ontarians not to enter and leave the province. CTV News has asked the provincial government if it is considering further action and is awaiting a response.

“The extraordinarily successful example of the Atlantic bubble, for example, was achieved without the federal government telling the Atlantic provinces to do so. They made this decision on their own, and it was the right decision, and of course, as the federal government, we supported them, ”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.

211 tickets issued to international air travelers

The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that 92% of travelers entering Canada by air must be quarantined.

“Air travelers are less likely to comply with an exemption set out in the mandatory segregation order. Of the 8 percent of exempt travelers, the majority have been in the trade or transport sector, including flight attendants, ”a spokesperson said.

PHAC said that as of April 15, it was aware of 211 tickets issued to travelers in Ontario to arrive without booking a government-authorized hotel accommodation and subsequently refusing to go.

The fine for refusing to go to the quarantine hotel is $ 3,000.

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