Air Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart offering pre-flight rapid COVID-19 tests for international passengers
Air Canada will now require passengers to submit to a temperature check before boarding. (File photo)
OTTAWA -- Air Canada passengers looking to travel over the holidays can now get a pre-departure rapid COVID-19 test at Shoppers Drug Mart stores in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.
The airline has announced a partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart for Air Canada customers to receive a COVID-19 RT-PRC test in order to comply with international travel requirements.
Air Canada says the test will be available for travellers flying to destinations requiring a negative COVID-19 test, including Hawaii, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Antigua, Barbuda and St. Lucia.
In a statement, the airline says beginning Dec. 7, eligible Air Canada customers can book and purchase a COVID-19 test at participating Shoppers Drug Mart locations in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. In a statement to CTV News Ottawa on Sunday, Nov. 29, Loblaw said Ottawa is not included in the pilot project to offer pre-flight asymptomatic COVID-19 tests to Air Canada passengers.
Results are typically available within 24 to 48 hours.
"Many countries now require a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test and we are pleased to facilitate this process for our customers, making their travel experience easier and safer by recommending the RT-PCR test at select Shoppers Drug Mart locations," said Dr. Jim Chung, Air Canada's Chief Medical Officer.
Speaking on Newstalk 580 CFRA's Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron, Michelle Hoad of the Medical Laboratory Professionals Association of Ontario said there are reliability concerns with the rapid test.
"From a lab perspective, we are not in favour of the rapid test. That's because of the accuracy and reliability; they're a huge concern," said Hoad, noting a rapid test is approximately 94 per cent effective.
"So It means six per cent of the tests being done are not right. So, six per cent of the population may be getting wrong results."
Hoad also wonders why Air Canada is getting access to the RT-PRC test, while the Ontario government has not received the test.
Last week, Hawaii announced two Air Canada and WestJet will resume service to Hawaii in mid-December. The state said travellers can bypass the 14-day quarantine if they take a COVID-19 test from an approved laboratory, 72 hours prior to departure and receive a negative result prior to departure.
In a statement to CTV News Ottawa on Sunday, Nov. 29, Loblaw said Ottawa is not included in the pilot project to offer pre-flight asymptomatic COVID-19 tests to Air Canada passengers.