Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has mandated temperature screening for all air passengers through a phased approach: first for those travelling to Canada, then those travelling from Canada and finally, those travelling within Canada.
“A passenger who has a fever will not be permitted to board their flight,” Trudeau told reporters from his daily press briefing in Ottawa on Friday (June 12th).
Employees in security areas of airports will also be required to have their temperature checked, Trudeau added.
There are measures already in place to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as social distancing and sanitization protocols.
“…This screening will add yet another layer of protection,” Trudeau said.
The PM said his government has noted new best practices in effect elsewhere in the world to protect people from the COVID-19 virus.
One reporter at the briefing pointed out that Trudeau, weeks ago, dismissed the idea of introducing protocols around mask wearing and temperature screening, claiming that they didn't effectively halt the spread of COVID-19.
The reporter then asked why the government didn't introduce this measure sooner.
To that, Trudeau replied:
"Many weeks ago we talked about the idea of temperature screening and we were told, at the time, that this was not a particularly effective way of detecting COVID-19," Trudeau said, speaking in French, also noting how non-essential international travel, at the time, had been banned. "But it is an additional element that can tell us if whether someone is ill or too ill to travel or may have COVID-19."
Trudeau recognized that Canada is reopening its economy and, therefore, we can expect to see more people enter the country in the coming weeks.
"We are looking to do what many other countries have have been doing – that is to introduce additional measures," Trudeau said.
The announcement aligns with health and safety protocols that are currently being practiced by major carriers. Air Canada and WestJet, for example, have already introduced temperature screening as part of their boarding process.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Friday that the new protocol will be phased in, starting with Canada-bound travellers boarding planes at the end of June.
If travellers are found to have a fever, he said, his or her temperature will be taken again in ten minutes. If a traveller checks for a fever a second time, he or she will not be allowed to fly and will have to try again in 14 days.
The government will be exploring other ways of protecting Canadians in the weeks and months to come, Trudeau noted.
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