VANCOUVER – British Columbia’s health minister says he supports Ottawa’s decision to temporarily require people flying from China, Hong Kong and Macao to test negative for COVID-19 before leaving for Canada, beginning in early January.
Adrian Dix says in a news release that the province will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation around the world while working with its federal partners to ensure the public is protected and informed.
The federal government says the measure, announced in a separate release Saturday, is “in response to the surge of COVID-19 in the People’s Republic of China and given the limited epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data available on these cases.”
Ottawa says, starting Jan. 5, people age two and older who are travelling from the three countries will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline, taken no more than two days before their departure, before boarding a flight to Canada.
Dix says the Public Health Agency of Canada is also implementing a pilot project with Vancouver International Airport on wastewater testing from aircraft.
He says this project, an expansion of one already in place at Toronto Pearson International Airport, will assess the COVID-19 prevalence from various regions around the world and monitor for new variants of concern.
“Everyone is strongly encouraged to get immunized and boosted against COVID-19 to ensure they are giving themselves the best protection into the New Year,” Dix said in the statement on New Year’s Eve.
“Anyone planning on travelling to China should ensure they are fully up to date with vaccinations and take extra precautions to avoid becoming ill, as access to health care may be limited. Travellers should also review the Government of Canada’s travel advisories when considering travel to China.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 31, 2022.