The Ontario Government has launched a free and voluntary Covid-19 testing pilot programme for international passengers at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The airport’s testing programme will run in partnership with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said: “With over 60,000 international passengers coming into Pearson Airport every week, we can’t take any unnecessary risks. That’s why we’re putting in place this new pilot programme to help stop the spread of Covid-19 and respond to new threats like the recent strain of the virus we’re seeing in the UK.

“The test will be free for eligible travellers and I encourage everyone to take the test to protect yourselves and your loved ones.”

Eligible passengers will have the option to pre-register for the programme or get tested on their arrival at the airport.

With the supervision of a health care provider, passengers participating in the programme will take a free, self-collected lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

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Health service provider Switch Health will be conducting the self-swabbing tests.

Ontario’s Lab Information System will record all the test results within 48 hours and all positive tests will be checked by local public health units.

However, all international travellers, after arriving or returning to Canada, will be required to follow the mandatory 14-day quarantine, irrespective of testing negative or not.

Switch Health CEO Dilian Stoyanov said: “We look forward to working with our partners to bring Covid-19 testing to Canada’s busiest international airport, which will help to further protect the health and safety of Canadians.”

Recently, the Government of Canada announced that pre-departure Covid-19 testing and proof of negative results are now mandatory for all air passengers arriving in Canada.