Air Canada starts voluntary Covid-19 study at Toronto Airport

4 September 2020 (Last Updated September 4th, 2020 15:41)

Air Canada has started a voluntary Covid-19 study of international travellers landing at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Air Canada starts voluntary Covid-19 study at Toronto Airport
Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Credit: Robert Linsdell from St. Andrews, Canada.

Air Canada has started a voluntary Covid-19 study of international travellers landing at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The flag carrier of Canada partnered with McMaster HealthLabs (MHL) and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) for the month-long research project.

The study seeks to procure data and determine the effectiveness of various quarantine periods for travellers, as it is believed that the current 14-day quarantine restricts the recovery of the aviation sector.

Air Canada chief medical officer Dr Jim Chung said: “Air Canada has advocated for the adoption of rational, science-based measures in Canada relating to Covid-19, to allow for the prudent easing of travel restrictions and the mandatory 14-day quarantine, thereby striking a better balance for travellers and for the Canadian economy without adversely impacting public health.

“We are pleased to co-sponsor this extremely important study, which we believe should provide alternatives to the current blanket restrictions and quarantine.”

Under the study, MHL researchers will collect a sample from participating international travellers. Two additional samples will be self-collected seven and fourteen days after arrival.

Subsequently, MHL will analyse them for Covid-19 using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.

The participants will be electronically notified of the first results within 48 hours. The data, which will remain confidential, will be anonymously aggregated for further studies.

According to a Reuters report, most airlines and airports support the idea of testing travellers instead of imposing blanket quarantine rules.