Mandatory random COVID-19 testing for fully vaccinated air travellers resuming next week

The federal government has announced that it will be resuming mandatory random COVID-19 testing for travellers arriving at four major airports next week.

Ottawa had initially suspended random testing for fully vaccinated travellers last month after airport authorities urged the government to drop the program, saying it was causing long delays at airports, although testing remained in place for those not considered fully vaccinated.

But fully vaccinated travellers will once again be subject to mandatory testing, although the government is moving the testing out of airports to nearby off-site locations, such as pharmacies. Travellers can also book a virtual self-swab appointment.

Fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal could be subject to random testing starting Tuesday. To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller, a person must have received two doses of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The government maintains that random testing for air travellers is necessary to help detect new COVID-19 variants.

“As demand for travel increases across the world, today’s announcement marks an important step in our progress to streamline testing processes outside our airports while preventing the further spread of COVID-19,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a press release.

Those selected for random testing must complete the test within one day of their arrival, the government says.

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