Airports across Canada are following directions of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
The federal government announced Monday that Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport (YUL) and Calgary International Airport (YYC) will be the four airports in Canada accepting international flights.
At Toronto Pearson International Airport, a CBSA officer recently tested positive for the virus. According to a statement the agency gave to CP24, the employee is currently in isolation and following directions from health officials. Other workers who were in contact with the infected person are self-monitoring for symptoms and may self-isolate on the instructions of public health officials.
On social media, travellers were stunned by the lack of precautions being exercised by employees at Toronto Pearson International .
A giant screw up at Pearson Airport Travellers at Pearson Airport report lack of #COVID19 screening, not enough border agents and little or no hand sanitizer. Someone screwed up royally Travellers at Pearson Airport report lack of COVID-19 screening
— 🍁 Merlin 🍁🐨🦜🦘 (@MerlinofCanada) March 15, 2020
Pearson Airport Toronto testing social distancing. pic.twitter.com/UFuoo8j03n
— Emmanuel (@emmanuelmr) March 15, 2020
LIAR! Just arrived back into Canada at Pearson Airport and the was NO SCREENING WHATSOEVER!!! Bill Blair and the rest of the Liberal Government are not fit to lead.
— Carmelo Pastore (@PFL_Broncos) March 15, 2020
People are walking through Pearson airport customs with hundreds if not thousands of people wearing masks, gloves and goggles.
Not one single screening, not one single test.
One question was asked, where were you??
You’re lying to Canadians
Full stop. pic.twitter.com/HiiEOlOMvt
— John Stewart (@JohnSte07171314) March 15, 2020
Coming through Pearson Airport yesterday from London, my daughter reports no screening, questions, nada. She is self-isolating and is showing zero symptoms, thank god. But DO BETTER Liberals. The lack of precaution at this major point of entry is shameful. #COVIDCanada
— Dawn Hancock McKay (@DawnMcKay) March 15, 2020
In a statement to Yahoo Canada, Tori Gass with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority said they are working closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the CBSA “to ensure that all proper measures are taken with all international arriving passengers.” Additionally, extra hand sanitizer stations are available in arrivals areas and more frequent cleaning is being implemented in arrivals areas, including kiosks and bathrooms. High traffic areas are also being regularly disinfected.
At Vancouver International Airport, enhanced screening measures have been in place since January 22. The Public Health Agency of Canada has added signage in the Customs Hall, in addition to health screening questions on the electronic border kiosks. PHAC quarantine officers are also onsite to conduct health assessments of any travellers experiencing flu-like symptoms.
A spokesperson for the CBSA says due to the constantly evolving nature of of the situation, things can change but for now the following measures are being taken at airports across the country:
Increased Officer Presence
More CBSA officers will be present at major ports of entry, conducting public health screening and public outreach, by monitoring arriving travellers and assessing them to ensure that they are aware of the guidance provided by the PHAC. Officers will also use their training to approach travellers who appear to be displaying signs of illness with future questions. They are also distributing PHAC pamphlets in an effort to raise awareness on COVID-19 amongst travellers.
Travellers arriving in Canada from abroad are being handed instructions at points of entry on how to self-isolate at home for 14 days, monitor symptoms along with contact information for public health authorities if they develop anything in that time.
All ports of entry will have additional signage displayed to raise awareness, visible to travellers throughout the entry process. This is meant to ensure that travellers understand the importance of monitoring their health and reaching out to provincial health authorities if they become sick.
All travellers entering into Canada from abroad will be asked a series of health screening questions in an attempt to identify any concerns.
In addition to the screening questions, CBSA officers will also observe visible signs of illness and refer to any travellers who they suspect of being ill, regardless of how they answered the health screening questions.
PHAC Coronavirus Form
Travellers will be asked to fill out a PHAC Coronavirus form. This allows health authorities to monitor and track those who have been identified as a potential concern.
CBSA officers will supply travellers of concern with a mask kit containing a surgical mask and instructions on how to use the mask.