Canadian air-carrier, WestJet Airlines and its sister airline Swoop have reached an agreement with the Canadian government to allow passengers from Jamaica without a COVID PCR test result to travel to Toronto.
The development comes after hundreds of Jamaican-Canadians and other Canadian nationals were stranded on the island due to the country’s new COVID-19 protocols.
On January 7, Canada announced that all people flying into the country would be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test no more than 3 days before their flight.
According to the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health & Wellness, Dunstan Bryan, an estimated 2,000 Canadians are scheduled to return to Canada over the next seven days, but many persons have experienced difficulty finding testing locations in Jamaica.
Only two private labs on the island have approved by the ministry of health to offer PCR testing for COVID-19.
Health Minister Dr. Chris Tufton said Jamaica could not meet the high demand for testing on such short notice. “Most countries do not have the trained personnel, the equipment in terms of PCR machines or the test kits or reagents which oftentimes is globally in short supply. This means an unlikely adequate response to this type of request,” Tufton told the Jamaica Gleaner.
To ease the demand, WestJet airlines later announced that it would allow passengers from Jamaica to travel to Toronto from January 10 to 18 without a negative test.
However, the travelers will have to do a PCR test upon arrival at the airport in Toronto. They will also have to do a mandatory 14-day home quarantine.