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At Least 32 Flights Arriving in Canada Have Had COVID-19 Positive Passengers Onboard in the Past Two Weeks

At Least 32 Flights Arriving in Canada Have Had COVID-19 Positive Passengers Onboard in the Past Two Weeks

The Canadian government says at least 32 flights have arrived at airports across the country in the last two weeks which turned out to have COVID-19 positive passengers onboard. Official figures reveal 18 of those flights arrived from international destinations, while the remaining 14 flights were domestic services, the majority of which were operated by Air Canada. However, health authorities point out that these are only the flights they know about and passengers could be at risk even if their flight doesn’t appear on the official list.

Nine of the international flights arrived from the United States despite a continuing border closure on all non-essential travel with Canada. Yesterday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the mutual travel restrictions would remain in force through August 21 despite intense lobbying from the aviation industry.

Photo Credit: Air Canada

Two flights arrived from Pakistan since July 3 with COVID-19 positive passengers, while two other flights from Doha operated by Qatar Airways were also affected. Health officials have not disclosed how many passengers on each flight tested positive for the novel Coronavirus after arriving in Canada.

The majority of domestic services with COVID-19 positive passengers had departed from Toronto and Montreal. Air Canada became the first airline in the Americas to require passengers to undergo thermal scanning before being allowed to board its flights but such measures are unlikely to detect asymptomatic or presymptomatic sufferers.

In addition, some passengers suffering from the Coronavirus have previously been accused of taking fever-reducing medication to avoid detection prior to a flight.

One study into the spread of viruses onboard aircraft suggests those sat within two rows of an infected person are most at risk, although more recent research concluded the risk of transmission was minimal if sat more than one row away from the sufferer.

Last month, Air Canada chief executive Calin Rovinescu called the current border restrictions “disproportionate” as Coronavirus cases dropped in certain regions. All new arrivals coming into Canada must self-isolate for 14-days – the recognised incubation period for the virus.

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