Ontario stops providing information about COVID-infected flights

Move severely impacts accuracy of Health Canada’s daily updates on flights carrying infected passengers

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The dramatic post-summer dip of COVID-19 infected flights reported by Health Canada isn’t due to improved pandemic measures.

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On the heels of record-breaking August that saw 783 international flights land at Canadian airports carrying passengers infected with COVID-19, a disclaimer on Health Canada’s COVID flight passenger website cautions that Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec no longer submit regular infected flight updates.

“As of Aug. 25, Alberta Health Services only collects travel/flight information on cases with severe outcomes (hospitalization or death) and PHAC receives limited notifications from Ontario (since Sept. 9) and Quebec (since Sept. 10),” said the note.

Records show 337 flights with infected passengers landed at Pearson in August, compared to  307 in Montreal and 48 in Calgary.

A spokesperson with Public Health Ontario told the Toronto Sun the evolving state of the pandemic prompted Queen’s Park to stop providing regular updates to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC.)

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“As the science about COVID-19 and our knowledge of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has evolved, so too must our response to better target where public health work and actions will produce the most benefit and that will have the most impact in support of the pandemic response,” read an emailed reply to the Sun’s inquiries.

“Available evidence suggests that the likelihood of passenger-to-passenger transmission aboard aircraft appears to be very low.”

INFECTED INTERNATIONAL ARRIVALS BY MONTH

April: 287
May: 130
June: 174
July: 501
August: 783
September: 149
October: 60 (as of Sept. 20, 2021)

Source: Health Canada

bpassifiume@postmedia.com
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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