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Saturday,  July 13, 2024 9:19 AM 

“I want action on this”: Ford pushes feds to use rapid testing, drop 14-day quarantine

“I want action on this”: Ford pushes feds to use rapid testing, drop 14-day quarantine
Ontario Premier Doug Ford. (File photo)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was quick to applaud Alberta last month when it introduced a COVID-19 pilot project that aims to reduce quarantine times for international travellers through rapid testing.

Now, the Premier is officially calling on the federal government to adapt a similar program in Ontario.

Premier Ford, on Monday (Nov 9), told reporters that he would like Ottawa to support the replacement of its 14-day quarantine order for international travellers with rapid testing.

READ MORE: Alberta launches rapid testing to reduce quarantine

“I want to start getting people tested as they're coming off rather than isolating for 14 days,” Ford told journalists. “Let's get them tested immediately when they come off the plane and test them again five or six days later.”

“But I need the federal government's help on this and if they don't want to do it, then we'll go at it alone even though it's not our jurisdiction, airports, it’s the federal government’s.”

Make it ASAP 

Alberta’s pilot project – a partnership between the province of Alberta, the federal government and the travel industry – began in November at Calgary International Airport and the Coutts border crossing in southern Alberta.

International travellers arriving at these entry points can voluntary receive a COVID-19 rapid test and reduce their mandatory 14-day self-isolation period to nearly 48 hours if they receive a negative test result.

“Once a test comes back negative, [travellers] will be allowed to leave quarantine, provided they get another test at days six and seven because the virus can take time to develop and become detectable,” explained Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at a press conference last month.

Kenney said the experiment could come to Edmonton by early 2021, pending the cooperation of the federal government, which is unrolling the program “on a limited basis,” he said

Calling for Ottawa’s support, Ford said that he would “put people” at Toronto and Ottawa’s airports, and at some land border crossings, to offer rapid testing to travellers entering Canada.

“…I want action on this as soon as possible,” said Ford.

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