Passengers on dozens of flights that landed at Toronto Pearson airport test positive for coronavirus

Click to play video: 'Several international flights that land at Pearson Airport report cases of COVID-19' Several international flights that land at Pearson Airport report cases of COVID-19
WATCH ABOVE: Since the beginning of September, over 20 international flights that have landed at Pearson International Airport are confirmed to have passengers with COVID-19. Erica Vella has details on what is being done to protect passengers – Sep 15, 2020

Since the beginning of September, more than 20 international flights that landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport had passengers with COVID-19.

The federal government releases updated flight information daily which identifies the flight as well as the row where passengers could have been potentially been exposed.

According to the website, the flights arrived between Sept. 1 and Sept. 11 and originated from places including Mexico, United States, Poland, Germany, India, and Jamaica.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: How is Canada planning to enforce mandatory self-isolation?

The website also identified domestic flights where cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed.

A spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airport Authority said in a statement before passengers board flights to Canada, Transport Canada requires all airlines to take passengers’ temperatures and they must provide contact information for contact tracing purposes.

Story continues below advertisement

“At Pearson, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority has developed a rigorous Healthy Airport program to protect passengers and workers, including increased cleaning and sanitization, physical distancing measures, over two kilometres of plexiglass barriers, an airport worker COVID-19 report indicating where and when a potential case of COVID-19 arises and implementation of various innovative new technologies,” a statement from the GTAA said.

READ MORE: Passengers can now be tested for COVID 19 on arrival at Toronto’s Pearson airport

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist at Toronto General Hospital, said cases from passengers travelling internationally is to be expected and added it’s important for passengers to follow public health guidelines and avoid all non-essential travel.

“Unfortunately, it’s not surprising at all … we know that there is a very high rate of COVID-19 infection globally,” he said.

“We have the Quarantine Act for a reason and it’s being enforced for a reason and that’s because there is such a high burden of COVID-19 globally that it’s not unexpected that cases will land in Canada with international travel.”

In March, the federal government deployed the Act in the fight against COVID-19, which saw mandatory self-isolation rules imposed for any traveller returning to Canada with fines and even jail time for those who break the rules.

Story continues below advertisement

Bogoch said while it’s not surprising that cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed on planes travelling internationally, the risk to those on the flight is low.

“If people are on a flight, domestically or internationally, and there is a case of COVID19 on that flight, if people are adhering to public health guidelines like putting on a mask, the risk of infection is very, very low,” he said.

“It’s not zero per cent, but it’s very, very low for this infection to be transmitted to others.”

On Tuesday, the Ontario government reported 251 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the provincial total to 45,068.

On Aug. 28, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said people travelling internationally must measure the risk around non-essential travel.

READ MORE: Ontario reports 251 new coronavirus cases, almost half in Toronto and Peel Region

“If you are a senior, if you have underlying medical conditions, you have to think about where did you start your journey from all the way to exactly what you’re going to do at the other end. From taking public transport, arriving at an airport to going all the way through the journey,” Tam said.

“You have to think through all the measures. Are you comfortable with the fact that those measures will protect you? If not, think twice as to whether that journey is important to you.”


Sponsored content