Ontario premier demands increased coronavirus testing at airports as new variant emerges

OTTAWA — Ontario Premier Doug Ford blasted the federal government Monday for not moving faster on COVID-19 testing for incoming international travellers as a new variant is prompting more border closures.

Late Sunday, the federal government announced it was banning all incoming passenger flights from the U.K. for 72 hours due to a new manifestation of the novel coronavirus that is dominating cases in that country.

Early science suggests the new variant is more transmissible than other strains, but so far it has not been documented in Canada.

Read more: Ontario to enter ‘provincewide shutdown’ on Boxing Day

Still, the federal government said it was closing the border to arriving flights to give public health officials time to gather further evidence and conduct additional research.

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Opposition critics welcomed the ban but questioned the 72-hour limit, saying they weren’t confident that evidence could be gathered in that time frame.

Global Affairs also published a notice today telling Canadians not to travel to the United Kingdom because of the new variant.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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