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Vancouver airport to launch pilot project that offers rapid COVID-19 tests

Click to play video 'YVR to begin COVID-19 rapid test pilot project' YVR to begin COVID-19 rapid test pilot project
Vancouver International Airport is set to begin a pilot project to test the effectiveness of a rapid test for COVID-19, that would deliver results in 15 minutes. Ted Chernecki reports – Nov 2, 2020

Vancouver International Airport (YVR)  is set to roll out a pilot project offering rapid tests for COVID-19.

The rapid test is a collaboration between YVR and WestJet, and also involves researchers from the University of British Columbia.

Travellers on select domestic departures will be offered the test, which returns results in 15 minutes.

Read more: Canada adds 2,681 new coronavirus cases as deaths top 10,200

If the system works, travellers who test negative would be able to board their flight as normal.

Testing will take place during a four-hour window each day to capture WestJet domestic departures rather than focusing on specific routes. The pilot will also target Metro Vancouver residents so that anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus can easily return home.

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“What we’re trying to do is understand how these could be used in a travel context starting with domestic (travellers),” said YVR CEO Tamara Vrooman, who went on to say they hope to have the pilot up and running sometime this month.

Click to play video 'YVR is one step closer to rolling out pre-flight COVID-19 testing' YVR is one step closer to rolling out pre-flight COVID-19 testing
YVR is one step closer to rolling out pre-flight COVID-19 testing – Oct 2, 2020

YVR is working with UBC to assess the pilot and see how it can be streamlined in an airport environment.

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“We’re constantly looking for ways that we can improve the confidence and the science for people travelling through,” Vrooman said.

“We know that some people have to travel for essential, medical, or family or business reasons, so we want to make sure that if you do have to travel, you can do with the confidence that you’re to the highest international testing and safety protocols right here at home.”

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Canada’s 14-day self-isolation rules still apply for all international travellers arriving at YVR.

— With files from Ted Chernecki