Residents of British Columbia can get tested at their destination without having to go to a clinic thanks to this new program.
Canada’s largest airline announced Monday, October 25, that it will offer new COVID-19 self-test products through Switch Health, a health care company based in Canada.
Customers can use the self-administered COVID-19 molecular and antigen test kits when traveling overseas to avoid the hassle of finding clinics.
Currently, all Canadians five years of age or older must provide proof of a negative molecular test to return to the country. Screening tests for work or travel are not covered by the public health services.
But it’s not just the return to Canada that residents need to worry about. Most countries around the world require travelers to test negative, regardless of their immunization status, to enter the country. However, not all countries require a molecular test; some of them, including the United States, will accept the rapid antigen test.
Now travelers traveling with Air Canada can use the new portable self-administered test kit, officially called the Switch Health RT-LAMP test kit, without having to travel to a foreign test center.
“Together with Switch Health, we are pleased to offer our customers the most comprehensive range of travel testing options that will make overseas travel easier and more predictable,” said Mark Nasr, vice-president. Senior President, Product Marketing and E-Commerce at Air Canada.
“Switch Health also integrates seamlessly with Air Canada’s digital tool allowing customers to securely submit their COVID-19 test results and immunization records, further simplifying the travel experience. “
Test kits are only available to travelers traveling with Air Canada; travelers hoping to obtain one of the kits to use in conjunction with a land border crossing or other airline cannot access this particular program at this time.
How much will the self-test kits cost?
Air Canada notes that Aeroplan members will have exclusive access to preferential rates on all Switch Health test products. Members have preferential prices for the portable antigen test kit starting at $ 79 plus applicable taxes (one kit includes two tests) and the RT-LAMP portable test kit starting at $ 149 plus applicable taxes.
Aeroplan members can also redeem their Aeroplan points to cover the cost of the test kits.
Free standard delivery is included in the price of delivery. Express outbound shipping (one to three days) is available for an additional $ 15.
How long will the test take to be processed?
Results from the RT-LAMP or Rapid Antigen Test Kit will be available within 45 minutes of uploading your results reading to ASMO.
Testing is performed under the remote supervision of a Switch Health telehealth professional and includes a travel-friendly electronic report. Switch Health telehealth is available 24/7.
The Rapid Antigen Test Kit can be used anywhere in the world, but requires internet access and a mobile device to perform the tests.
According to Switch Health, RT-LAMP test kits are rapid molecular tests but not molecular laboratory tests. “The RT-LAMP test kits meet the entry requirements established by the Government of Canada. The RT-LAMP test kit can be used anywhere in the world, but requires internet access and a mobile device to perform the tests.
Special considerations for Canadians abroad
Travelers should also check the requirements of the country they are entering, as Switch Health and Air Canada do not provide advice on specific testing requirements.
Many countries around the world are now allowing fully vaccinated Canadians to skip quarantine, but some are considering the idea of putting in place an expiration date when travelers receive their vaccines.
As of October 30, all travelers at Canadian airports and travelers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains must be fully immunized. That said, there will be a grace period during which they can present a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel, instead of providing full proof of vaccination. However, as of November 30, travelers who have not started the vaccination process may not qualify.
Find out more about Air Canada’s testing program with Switch Health.