TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford is calling on the federal government to close Canada’s borders to all incoming air travel, with the exception of Canadians returning home.
“Close down any travel” from outside Canada, he said during his Jan. 25 COVID-19 briefing. “There’s no reason we need anyone coming in. I look up at the sky, I’m out in Etobicoke and I can see all these planes in the sky and I think, how many cases are coming in? This has to stop.”
Premier Ford stepped up his calls for wider COVID-19 testing measures at airports including Pearson. Ford has long advocated for testing at Pearson, saying in December 2020 he would go it alone if the federal government wouldn’t step in with assistance.
Then on Jan. 6 he announced the launch of COVID-19 testing at Toronto Pearson airport for arriving passengers. The free testing is a step in the right direction, however it is voluntary and the 14-day quarantine is still in place no matter what the results. Other COVID-19 testing initiatives at airports including Calgary allow inbound travellers to shorten the quarantine time as long as the test result is negative.
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On Jan. 7 the federal government’s new PCR test requirement came into effect, mandating proof of negative pre-arrival PCR tests for all inbound air passengers coming to or returning to Canada.
“We need testing now,” said Ford. “I can’t emphasize enough, close down our borders and make sure anyone who’s coming in gets tested.”
He said mandatory testing “should have happened months ago.”
“Let’s make sure we test every single person who comes into our country,” he said. “We need to go quick. Vite vite vite, as they say.”
The federal government is expected to soon announce more hurdles to discourage travel, including, potentially, mandatory hotel quarantines, as opposed to home quarantines.