To tackle a surge of COVID-19 cases and the new strand of the virus originating from the United Kingdom, Canada will soon make negative tests mandatory for airline passengers to enter or return to the country. The screening test must be taken no more than 72 hours before arrival at Canada's airports, harbors, or at border posts by land.

The exact deadline for the enforcement of this new measure was not disclosed, though according to Dominic Leblanc, Canadian Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, it should be soon. “If I was on a Caribbean beach this week, I would look for a clinic to do a screening test before I returned to Canada,” Leblanc told Radio Canada. The requirement for a quarantine of 14 days upon arrival remains in force.

The National Airlines Council of Canada, which regroups the four largest airlines of the country, namely Air Canada (ADH2), Westjet, Air Transat, and Jazz Aviation, reacted to the announcement. “Today's announcement was made without prior coordination with industry, and with many important operational and communications details yet to be determined,” the Council objected. “Major Canadian airlines have invested millions of dollars to protect the health and safety of our passengers and employees, and to protect public health.”

Canada has so far recorded 572,982 cases of contamination and 15,472 deaths due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.