“This can facilitate the quarantine time from 2 weeks to 48 hours for all travelers – a great move!”
Travellers entering Canada by land or air through Alberta will soon have the option of being tested for COVID-19 at the border in a move that could shorten quarantine times — in a pilot project that’s the first of its kind in Canada, Premier Jason Kenney announced Thursday.
The mandatory quarantine period for returning international travellers will be maintained for now. But the 14-day day self-isolation period could be shortened to about 48 hours if a traveller receives a negative COVID-19 test result at one of two border crossings in the province.
“We simply must move forward to develop policies to facilitate safe travel,” Kenney said during a news conference Thursday, calling it an important day.
“Though a lot of work lies ahead, we can see a return to normal travel.”
Starting Nov. 2, the new COVID-19 testing option will be offered at the Coutts land border crossing in southern Alberta and the Calgary International Airport.
All travellers who choose not to participate in the pilot will have to abide by the normal 14-day quarantine.
News of the pilot project comes a day after Alberta broke two COVID-19 records, for the most new cases in a single day, 406, and for the most active cases.
Kenney was speaking from his home in Edmonton, where he is in self-isolation after one of his government ministers tested positive for COVID-19 a day earlier. Kenney tested negative Wednesday night but said he’d continue with the isolation period until Oct. 29.
The voluntary screening option announced Thursday is a joint pilot project between the Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada.
It will be available for foreign essential workers — truckers, health-care workers and other workers who are exempt from the current federal travel ban — and any Canadian citizens returning to the country through Alberta.