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Passengers will soon have to show negative COVID-19 test before flying to Canada

FILE. (iStock image)

Passengers flying into Canada will have to show a negative COVID-19 test before boarding

The test will need to be taken three days before the flight, but it hasn't been said when the rule will take effect

Public safety minister says there are no plans to change the quarantine period

VANCOUVER¬† (NEWS 1130) — People flying into Canada will soon need to provide proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test before stepping on a flight.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc didn’t say when the requirement will be in place, but the test will need to be taken three days before boarding a plane.

The federal government is describing the requirement as an extra layer of protection because it discourages non-essential international travel.

RELATED: Canada halts passenger flights from the UK

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says there is no intention at this point to shorten the quarantine period as a result of this new requirement.

“Airports and the provinces wanted a rapid test in order to cut the isolation time, quite frankly, we would only move forward on a measure like that if the evidence and the data and the advice of our health officials supported it,” he said during a COVID-19 briefing Wednesday. “But what we’re talking about today is a very different thing, and that’s adding pre-boarding testing as an extra layer of protection.”

He argues there is a potential for testing to supplement current quarantine measures in place.

The announcement follows criticism that federal travel restrictions and quarantine rules have been too lax.

However, Blair defended the government’s approach so far.

“Those measures are an addition to the very strong regime of protection at our borders that we have in place, and we’ll continue to work to enhance those measures to keep Canadians safe,” he says.

Canada recently extended its ban on flights from the U.K., where the more contagious strain of COVID-19 has been spreading, until Jan. 6.

The extension came shortly before the variant was detected in Canada.

RELATED: COVID-19 variant arrives in B.C.

So far, four provinces have found cases of the variant so far.

Earlier Tuesday, the U.K. became the first country to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Meanwhile, the military provided an update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, with the aim to deliver 1.2 million doses by the end of January.

-with files from the Canadian Press