Air Canada Urges Gov't To Create Quarantine-Free Corridors Between "Safe" Countries
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
Dr. Jim Chung, Chief Medical Officer, Air Canada
Air Canada is urging the federal government to replace blanket travel restrictions and quarantines with "more proportionate" and "science-based" measures that mirror those adopted by numerous jurisdictions worldwide and endorsed by the International Air Transport Association.
In a letter to federal officials, AC suggests the government determine a list of countries whose citizens can enter Canada and be exempt from the 14 day self-isolation requirement, thereby establishing "travel bubbles" or "safe corridors” like those created by countries in Asia Pacific and the European Union.
The list of exempt countries would be informed by the prevalence of coronavirus within the country, the numbers of new cases and the potential trajectory over the coming weeks of COVID-19, AC says. The exempt countries would pose no greater risk to Canadians than inter-provincial travel, and the list would be reviewed and updated every two weeks.
For countries with a higher COVVID-19 risk profile that wouldn't qualify for an exemption, Air Canada recommends adopting what it calls a “test-based” model. This would permit a potential reduction in the length of quarantine based on a traveller undergoing a COVID-19 test at a designated facility within 72 hours prior to departure. If deemed appropriate, the test would be repeated again on arrival.
Air Canada emphasized it is not proposing relaxing the U.S. border restrictions at this time - only replacing the quarantine requirements for those countries with a low COVID-19 risk.
Ottawa is still advising against non-essential travel and instructs all travellers arriving in Canada to self-isolate for 14 days. These regulations first came into effect in MAR.
"Canada has made virtually no change to its quarantine restrictions since mid-March, despite continuing improvements containing the spread of the virus both in our country and in many others," writes Dr. Jim Chung, Air Canada's Chief Medical Officer, in the letter.
"This is severely impacting Air Canada, our customers and employees as well as an overall recovery. Moreover, there are many other interests affected by the quarantine restrictions - not only jobs and pensions, but also the social and economic wellbeing of individuals and communities that rely on air travel, as well as basic freedoms of mobility."
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.