The Ontario government has sent a letter to Ottawa requesting that PCR nasal swabs become mandatory for all air travel into the province.
The letter, which was shared with the Canadian Press, was issued to Canada’s federal ministers of health and public safety.
The Ford government is asking Ottawa to make pre-departure PCR testing mandatory for domestic air travellers entering Ontario, adding to the current pre-departure testing rules for international arrivals.
The letter says it is “crucial that all non-essential travel be curtailed,” citing reports of potential COVID-19 exposures on flights landing at other Ontario airports, such as Ottawa and Hamilton.
Ontario strengthened its lockdown measures on April 16, placing new restrictions on non-essential interprovincial travel by adding checkpoints to its provincial borders with Quebec and Manitoba.
Valid reasons for crossing the provincial border, the province says, include work, health care services, transportation and delivery of goods and services or exercising Aboriginal or treaty rights.
Restricting interprovincial air travel lies in the hands of the federal government.
“Over 70 per cent of daily cases in Ontario have been confirmed as variants of concern,” says the letter signed by Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.
“These variants entered through our borders, both international and domestic, and it is critical that every effort is made to keep them out.”
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