Poll: negative test needed
Photo: The Canadian Press
Canada’s new COVID-19 testing requirement for international travellers has caused hundreds of people to miss flights in just the first week of the program’s rollout.
Under the new restrictions, all passengers flying to Canada from another country must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken at most 72 hours prior to departure.
Since the testing mandate went into effect on Jan. 7, WestJet has denied boarding to at least 385 guests because they did not meet the requirements, said spokeswoman Morgan Bell.
Similarly, Air Transat has denied boarding to at least 245 passengers for testing-related reasons since Jan. 7, said Debbie Cabana, a spokeswoman for the airline.
Bell said the travellers were turned away due to improper tests — antigen or antibody tests, rather than the required PCR test common in Canada — no test at all, or one taken more than 72 hours before departure.
“Our teams have been doing everything they can to assist guests and problem-solve in destinations across our network,” Bell said. “Our WestJet Vacations team is working in destinations with our hotel partners to facilitate and arrange PCR tests whenever available to best assist our guests.”
At the time the testing mandate was announced, Canada’s major airlines asked the government unsuccessfully for an 11-day extension to implement the new rules, warning that they would lead to confusion for passengers.
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