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Why Air Canada thinks it’s time to drop mandatory quarantine when travelling



Air Canada is pushing to drop the 14-day mandatory quarantine period for travellers returning to the country in favour of a test-based approach despite multiple flights still landing in the country with COVID-19 positive passengers.

The airline revealed the idea in a social media post on Tuesday, saying that more than 99 per cent of 15,000 voluntary COVID-19 tests taken by international customers at Toronto Pearson International Airport have tested negative.

“We believe that a test-based strategy may be a safe alternative to the 14-day quarantine,” the post said.

The study began on Sept. 3 in partnership with McMaster HealthLabs (MHL) and lasted about a month. Participants were all volunteers who agreed to be tested upon arrival in Toronto. They were then sent home with two additional testing kits and were taught how to take samples after seven days and then 14 days.

They received their first test results back within 48 hours.

Of those that did test positive for COVID-19, Air Canada says that 80 per cent were detected in the initial test and the rest were diagnosed following the second test.

All participants did quarantine for 14 days in order to comply with federal regulations.

Air Canada said that the results are still preliminary and are meant to help gather information in order to help guide future policy decisions.

“Understanding that we will need to live alongside this virus for the short- to medium-term, we have been pursuing relationships and a layered approach as a way to keep our employees and our customers safe,” Dr. Jim Chung, Air Canada’s Chief Medical Officer, said in a news release issued last week. “We believe testing will be key to protecting employees and customers until such time as a COVID-19 vaccine is available.”

Chung went on to say that rapid testing may allow governments to relax “blanket travel restrictions and quarantines” while still ensuring the health and safety of the public.

“We are further encouraged in our belief in the effectiveness of testing, including self-administered testing, by the preliminary results from our partnership with MHL and the GTAA. The preliminary results suggest a shorter, test-based strategy may be an available and safe alternative to the 14-day quarantine.”

In March, the U.S. and Canadian governments agreed to close the borders to non-essential travel. The ban has been extended numerous times since then, although the Canadian government has recently eased some cross-border travel policies to allow more extended family and international students to enter the country.

A spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada said that regardless of the policy changes, there are no exemptions from the mandatory quarantine period.

“This is because a negative test for COVID-19 doesn’t prove that a traveller is COVID-19 free,” the spokesperson said.

The restrictions have had a serious financial impact on numerous airlines, with many of them choosing to pause operation or suspend certain flights.

At the same time, numerous domestic and international flights have reported COVID-19 positive passengers onboard in the last 12 days of September.

According to the Canadian government, at least 28 domestic flights between Sept. 21 and Oct. 2 have had a traveller onboard that has after-the-fact tested positive for COVID-19.

At least 26 of the flights either landed in or took off from Toronto, which has been categorized as a COVID-19 hotspot due to the soaring number of infections reported each day.

There are also 26 of international flights impacted by a positive case of the novel coronavirus.

Here are the international flights impacted by a case of COVID-19:

  • American Airlines flight AA6020 from Philadelphia to Montreal on Sept. 21
  • Nippon Airways flight NH116 from Tokyo to Vancouver on Sept. 21
  • Air Canada flight AC846 from Toronto to Munich on Sept. 22
  • Air Canada/Air India flights AC848/AI7310 from Toronto to London on Sept. 22
  • Air France flight AF356 from Paris to Toronto on Sept. 22
  • Ethiopian Airlines flight ET553 from Toronto to Addis Ababa on Sept. 22
  • Air Canada flight AC855 from London to Vancouver on Sept. 23
  • Air Canada flight AC1255 from Kingston, Jamaica to Toronto on Sept. 23
  • Air Canada flight AC43 from New Delhi to Toronto on Sept. 24
  • Air Canada flight AC45 from New Delhi to Vancouver on Sept. 25
  • Air Canada flight AC871 from Paris to Montreal on Sept. 25
  • Air Canada flight AC1241 from Cancun to Montreal on Sept. 25
  • Ethiopian Airlines flight ET552 from Addis Ababa to Toronto on Sept. 25
  • Air Canada flight AC0873 from Frankfurt to Toronto on Sept. 26
  • Lufthansa Air flight LH6794 from Frankfurt to Montreal on Sept. 26
  • Aeromexico flight AM696 from Mexico City to Vancouver on Sept. 27
  • Air India flight AI1143 from Delhi to Vancouver on Sept. 27
  • Air Transat flight TS573 from Lyon to Montreal on Sept. 27
  • Cathay Pacific flight CS829 from Toronto to Hong Kong on Sept. 27
  • Emirates flight EK241 from Dubai to Toronto on Sept. 27
  • KLM Royal Dutch airlines flight KL681 from Amsterdam to Vancouver on Sept. 27
  • Air Canada flight AC794 from Los Angeles to Toronto on Sept. 29
  • Air Canada flight AC80 from Toronto to Tel Aviv on Sept. 29
  • Air Canada flight AC992 from Mexico City to Toronto on Sept. 29
  • Turkish Airlines flight TK17 from Istanbul to Toronto on Sept 29
  • Air Canada/Jazz on flights AC8491/QK8491 from Washington to Toronto on Sept. 20

Source:- CTV Toronto

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Coronavirus: Canada adds 2787 new cases, breaking previous day's record – Global News



Coronavirus cases rose by 2,787 in Canada on Thursday, breaking the daily record last set the day before, while deaths rose by 33.

The increases put Canada’s national case total at 208,933 and deaths at 9,862.

Read more:
Canada reports 2,668 new cases of COVID-19, setting new daily record

Quebec reported 1,033 cases Thursday, bringing its total to 97,231. There are currently 553 hospitalized in the province, down by 12 from yesterday, with 101 of them in ICU, up by seven from the day before.

The province also reported 20 deaths, eight of which occurred in the last 24 hours. The virus has killed 6,094 people in the province to date.

Ontario reported 841 new cases Thursday, the second-highest case increase recorded so far, bringing the province’s total to 67,527.

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Ontario reports jump of 144 cases in publicly funded schools

Ontario reports jump of 144 cases in publicly funded schools

There are now 6,390 active cases in the province with 270 people hospitalized, 74 in the intensive care unit and 48 in ICUs on a ventilator.

Nine deaths were also reported to bring the death toll to 3,071 in the province.

Out west, British Columbia announced 274 new cases, breaking the previous record of 203 from the day earlier for most new cases in the province.

Read more:
B.C. shatters records with 274 new COVID-19 cases, social gatherings blamed

The province now has 1,920 active cases with 71 hospitalizations, 24 of which are in intensive care.

Officials said many of the new cases were the result of social gatherings, such as weddings and funerals, and some due to “large” Thanksgiving gatherings.

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No new deaths were reported, keeping B.C.’s toll at 256.

Meanwhile, Alberta reported 406 new cases, breaking the 400-mark for the first time in the pandemic. There are now 3,519 active cases.

Click to play video 'Pilot project aims to reduce quarantine time for international travellers to Alberta'

Pilot project aims to reduce quarantine time for international travellers to Alberta

Pilot project aims to reduce quarantine time for international travellers to Alberta

No new deaths were reported.

Saskatchewan reported 60 new cases Thursday to bring its total to 2,558, with 509 active cases and 21 people currently in hospital, three of whom are in ICU.

No new deaths were reported to add to the province’s 25.

Manitoba announced the province’s deadliest day of the pandemic, with four new deaths to add to the 47 total, the vast majority of which have happened in the last few weeks.

Read more:
Manitoba reports 4 new coronavirus deaths, 147 cases, Winnipeg schools moving to restricted level

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The province added 147 new cases, with 42 hospitalizations and eight in intensive care — its highest rate of hospitalizations to date in the pandemic.

In the Atlantic bubble, Nova Scotia announced no new cases to add to its four active cases with no hospitalizations. The province has seen 1,097 cases total and 65 deaths.

New Brunswick, though, reported three new cases Thursday to bring its total to 322, with 81 active cases and five hospitalizations, one of which is in ICU. No new deaths were added to its total of four.

Read more:
N.B. reports 3 new cases of COVID-19, Campbellton region facing additional restrictions

Newfoundland and Labrador also added one new case to bring its total to 288, and no new deaths.

No new cases or deaths were reported for PEI or any of the territories.

The coronavirus has infected 41,561,983 people wordwide to date and has killed 1,135,289, according to Johns Hopkins University.

— With files from Global News staff


© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada breaks record for coronavirus cases – CTV News



Canada has reported its highest number of COVID-19 cases in a single day, breaking a record set in the spring as two provinces announced their worst one-day tallies.

According to’s coronavirus tracker, Canada recorded 2,786 new cases on Thursday, breaking the previous record of 2,698 cases, which was set on Oct. 17.

This is also the first time the country surpassed the May 3 tally of 2,760 cases. This number was only as high as it was because it included 1,317 missing cases in Quebec from earlier in the pandemic. At the time, the province cited a computer error for the discrepancy.

Canada’s grim milestone comes as British Columbia and Alberta both broke new daily case records for the second straight day, adding 274 and 427 cases, respectively.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, attributed her province’s spike in cases to social gatherings.

“Much of the recent surge that we have seen in new cases in B.C in the last couple of weeks is directly linked to social events,” she said during a news conference. “These events have caused clusters and outbreaks that have now spilled over into our health-care system.”

Alberta’s top doctor cited Thanksgiving as the source of surging coronavirus cases there.

“The leading source of exposures for active cases right now are close contacts, and many of the cases that we are seeing now are the result of spread over Thanksgiving when families gathered together,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said in her provincial update.

“People did not mean to spread COVID, but it is a reminder where social gatherings where social distancing and masking are not used consistently are a significant risk for spread.”

Quebec continues to be the epicentre of the pandemic in Canada, adding more than a thousand new cases for the sixth time in seven days. Ontario, the second hardest hit province, registered more than 800 new cases on Thursday.

Manitoba also broke a record, but not for the number of new cases. The province recorded its deadliest day with four deaths related to COVID-19.

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Ontario reports 841 more COVID-19 cases, 7-day average on the rise –



Ontario reported another 841 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, as the seven-day average of new daily cases — a measure that helps limit noise in the data — is starting to climb again after a brief lull. 

Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said at a news conference that today’s number of new cases is the second highest the province has seen since the virus’s second wave hit.

“That’s concerning as we watch how this second wave is working through us in the province of Ontario,” Williams said.

The seven-day average now sits at about 761, still below the most recent peak of 781 that came earlier this month, but consistently on the rise in the last four days. 

The province also reported nine more deaths in today’s update, a second-straight day with nine new deaths. Forty people have died from COVID-19 in Ontario in the last week.

Today’s new cases are concentrated in the following public health units:

  • Toronto: 335
  • Peel: 162
  • York: 106
  • Ottawa: 72

Other areas that saw double-digit increases include:

  • Durham Region: 29
  • Halton Region: 29
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 24
  • Hamilton: 20
  • Eastern Ontario: 10
  • Middlesex London: 10

Seventy-four of the newly confirmed cases of the illness are school-related, including at least 49 students and five staff. A total of 1,641 cases school-related cases have now been registered provincewide since the academic year began, with 501 schools having reported at least one in students or staff. That figure is equivalent to about 10.38 per cent of all publicly-funded schools in Ontario.

(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found in the Ministry of Health’s daily update, which includes data from up until 4 p.m. the previous day. The number of cases for any particular region on a given day may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, which often avoid lag times found in the provincial system.)

Williams said cases in schools have been primarily found in students, but there has not been much evidence of in-school transmission.

“That means a lot of good work is being done … in the school settings,” he said.

But the province is, Williams said, seeing clusters of cases linked to social gatherings at weddings, sporting events and at household gatherings.

Ford wishes for ‘crystal ball’

At the province’s daily news conference Thursday, Premier Doug Ford was asked if he had any insight as to if the province will be able to lift its “modified Stage 2” restrictions that have been enacted in the parts of Ontario that have been hardest hit by the virus. When introduced, the province said they were planning for the measures to last for 28 days.

“I wish I had a crystal ball to find out where we’re going,” Ford said. “I pray in a couple of weeks that these numbers are going to change.”

“People have to follow the guidelines.”

Ontario has now seen a total of 67,527 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the first was reported in late January. Of those, about 86 per cent are considered resolved, including 741 more in today’s update.

There are 6,390 confirmed, active infections provincewide, a jump of 91 since Wednesday and a new record-high for Ontario. 

After a considerable decrease in Wednesday’s update, the number of people in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of the illness increased again, up 10 to 270. Some 74 patients are being treated in intensive care, and 48 are on ventilators — one fewer than Wednesday.

Meanwhile, there are active outbreaks of COVID-19 in at least 80 long-term care facilities. 

5 Toronto hospitals with COVID-19 outbreaks

Another Toronto hospital has declared an outbreak of COVID-19.

The Scarborough Health Network said six patients are infected in one unit at its general hospital in the city’s east end.

A spokeswoman for the health network said the unit has been closed to admissions in order to protect patients and staff.

Leigh Duncan added that enhanced infection prevention and control measures are in place in the affected unit.

Scarborough joins a growing list of Toronto hospitals that have declared an official outbreak, defined as two health-care-related cases of COVID-19 within 14 days.

St. Michael’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Toronto Western Hospital and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health have also declared outbreaks among staff or patients.

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