Alberta reducing quarantine times with coronavirus testing pilot
Alberta is the first province to reduce quarantine time for incoming travellers by offering coronavirus tests at certain airports and land border crossings.
Travellers must register for the pilot by completing an application form up to five days before arrival. If their test comes back negative, they will not have to complete the full 14-day quarantine period.
All other returning international travellers must follow the mandatory quarantine period, the Alberta webpage says. People who apply for the reduced quarantine pilot still have to arrive in Canada with an adequate 14-day quarantine plan.
So far the program is only available to international travellers arriving through Coutts land border crossing, and Calgary International Airport. The pilot is expected to expand to other locations, but for now passengers arriving from other airport are not eligible. The Edmonton International Airport is expecting to join the pilot in early 2021, according to CBC.
Travellers who are eligible for the pilot include returning Canadians, and foreign nationals who are exempt from travel restrictions. There are a number of scenarios where foreign national are exempt, such an international travellers coming to Canada to visit immediate or extended family members. These travellers must be coming for more than 15 days, or have an essential reason to be in Canada for a shorter amount of time.
International travellers who are exempt under another category may also be eligible for the pilot. International students going to a Designated Learning Institution with a coronavirus readiness plan, for example, were added to the list of exempt travellers last month. Work permit holders, and some approved permanent residents are also exempt.
Canada also opened the borders to foreign nationals coming to Canada for compassionate reasons, like to care for a sick loved one, to be present in the final moments of life, or to attend a funeral.
Travellers who are not eligible for reduced quarantine include those with COVID-19 symptoms, who have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within 14 days of arriving in Alberta, and those who do not have an acceptable quarantine plan. People who left a foreign country and transferred flights at another Canadian airport before arriving in Calgary are also not eligible. Travellers must be coming to the approved port of entry directly from abroad.
Also, travellers are not eligible if they are leaving Alberta for another Canadian province in less than 14 days. They may be eligible, however, if they are leaving Canada from Alberta within 14 days.
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