Alberta announces new COVID program for international travellers

by Stephen Dafoe

A new pilot project between the provincial and federal governments will begin next month and offer an alternative to the current 14-day quarantine requirement for international travellers.

The government says the project will look at the possibility of using a “rigorous testing and monitoring program” to reduce the mandatory quarantine period.

The program will begin Nov. 2 at the Calgary International Airport and the Coutts land border crossing.

Participating travellers will receive a COVID-19 test upon entry into Canada before proceeding into the required quarantine. Travellers will be allowed to leave their place of quarantine once the test comes back negative. However, they must commit to a second test on the sixth or seventh day after their arrival. During the stay, the government says participants will go through daily symptoms checks and will be required to follow enhanced preventive health measures, including wearing masks in public places and avoiding visiting high-risk groups.

“This is an important step in Alberta’s Recovery Plan. This new pilot program will allow those who need to travel for work to have a safe path to a shorter quarantine period,” said Premier Jason Kenney ina media release Thursday. “Since the start of this pandemic, Alberta’s government has highlighted the importance to protect lives and livelihoods. Today’s announcement does just that.”

The government says eligible candidates must be returning Canadian citizens, permanent residents or foreign nationals currently permitted entry into Canada and who have no symptoms.Returning international travellers who do not voluntarily participate in the pilot must continue to adhere to the 14-day quarantine.

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