Vancouver is the biggest source of domestic flights infected with COVID

The flight arrival queue at Toronto Pearson International Airport, located in Terminal 1, on February 22, 2021.

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39 domestic flights departing from YVR carrying passengers infected with COVID-19 so far this month

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As British Columbia faces crippling variant-fueled epidemics and lawmakers consider restricting interprovincial travel, Vancouver remains the primary source of domestic air passengers infected with COVID-19.

Data made available by Health Canada shows, so far in April, 39 flights departing from Vancouver International Airport carrying passengers who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Calgary was the second source of infected domestic flights in Canada with 31 flights, followed by Toronto with 23, Edmonton with 12 and Montreal with six.

Unlike international passengers, who under Canadian law are required to present a recent negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding and undergo a second test and mandatory quarantine upon arrival, no such rule does exist for domestic travel.

For example, the province of Ontario “strongly recommends” a self-quarantine of only 14 days after returning from another province – no authority exists to enforce this rule.

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Calgary was the most popular destination for infected flights, 10 since April 1 – the same number of flights Calgary returned to Vancouver with COVID positive passengers.

Next come Edmonton with nine, Toronto with seven and Montreal with six.

Toronto sent 5 planes infected with COVID-19 each to Calgary and Edmonton, as well as four to Halifax, three to Vancouver, two to Ottawa and one each to Saskatoon, Thunder Bay, Timmins and Winnipeg.

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Health Canada does not state how many passengers tested positive on each flight, but instead provides three-row “beaches” where an infected person has sat on each plane.

Now that international variants are increasingly prevalent in the growing number of COVID-19 outbreaks in Canada, there is growing talk of restricting interprovincial travel.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan noted earlier this week that travel restrictions in his province “were possible” and that discussions are underway with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on what can be done to address non-essential travel between neighbors in Western Canada.

“We haven’t taken anything off the table, but practicality comes first,” Horgan said.

Last July, an agreement between the four Maritime provinces resulted in the creation of the “Atlantic bubble” – an area requiring mandatory testing and 14-day quarantines for all foreigners, with the risk of heavy fines for scofflaws.

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On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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