International travel without a 14-day quarantine has returned. But the new policy is being rolled out quietly and is being considered a "pilot project" or "test". And for those in Westman who are itching to travel, the news could be especially important. The province has chosen to allow this in Alberta. The airport is Calgary (the site of Brandon's daily WestJet service) and Coutts Alberta (southwest of Medicine Hat) for land crossing into the USA. Here's how it works:
Starting November 2nd, returning travelers will still be legally required to undergo a 14-day quarantine, but those who agree to a COVID-19 test upon entry can — if they test negative — forgo quarantine if they agree to a second test. As long as passengers get a negative result within 48 hours, they just have to go back for a re-test in 6 – 7 days, while still remaining in quarantine until the second test. But until both tests are negative, can't travel outside Alberta for 14 days. International travel has still been going on through the pandemic as four airports — Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver — were permitted to accept international flights, with some exceptions. The airline industry is elated and those in Western Canada willing to make the trip to Coutts now have an option to cross into the USA at a land crossing if you're willing to drive 8 hours from Brandon.
Health Canada earlier this month allowed three, on-site, lab-free rapid COVID-19 tests to be sold in Canada. Canada said it will purchase over 16 million rapid tests, 100,000 of which arrived Wednesday. For more details on this story in the Toronto Sun and others, click the links below. (And updated news release from WestJet)