Since the beginning of August, Eighteen flights arriving in Canada from international destinations came with COVID-19 patients onboard. The flights landed in Canada between Aug 1 and Aug 4 according to the federal government. Toronto received eight of the flights, Montreal seven, while Vancouver and Calgary received one each.
Regardless of whether or not they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, those who travel are subjected to a mandatory self-isolation of 14 days. Though, the government is still advising Canadians against non-essential international travel. Even as the government acknowledges those onboard, affected flights which may have been exposed to COVID-19 Passengers are receive notifications directly from federal public health authorities to get tested. Peter Fitzpatrick, Air Canada spokesperson, has confirmed that those who should contact their doctor are the ones worried they may have been exposed to the disease.
Peter added that where a group of people contract a disease at the same time and location, it is essential to understand the incidence of individuals contracting an infectious disease inflight is very low. This is because the evidence considers what is called ‘cluster outbreaks’ which are rarely if ever tied to modes of travel. In contrast, people regularly see reports of outbreaks arising from funerals, bars or other gatherings. According to the Air Canada fact sheet, the reasons for the low rate of in-flight transmission are viewed to contain a combination of the lack of face-to-face contact, and the physical barriers provided by seatbacks, together with the characteristics of cabin airflow.
Also seen to be useful are pre-flight screening, mandatory face coverings and temperature monitoring. On July 1 after months where the option was removed to aid in physical distancing, two of the biggest airlines in North America, WestJet and Air Canada, started selling their middle seats again.
From Aug 1 to 4, the international flights with COVID-19 cases include:
- Air Canada flight AC849 from London to Toronto on Aug 4
- Air Canada flight AC879 from Switzerland to Toronto on Aug 4
- Tap Air Portugal flight TP253 from Lisbon to Montreal on Aug 4.
- Delta Airlines flight DL7203 from Atlanta to Calgary on Aug 4.
- Air Canada flight AC870 from Montreal to Paris on Aug 4.
- AeroMexico flight AM680 from Mexico City to Montreal on Aug 4
- Air Canada flight AC7682 from Chicago to Toronto on Aug 4
- United Airlines flight UA3488 from Newark to Toronto on Aug 3
- Qatar Airlines flight QR763 from Doha to Montreal on Aug 3
- Etihad Airways flight EY141 from Abu Dhabi to Toronto on Aug 2
- Air Canada flight AC992 from Mexico City to Toronto on Aug 2
- Pakistan International Airlines flight PK797 from Lahore to Toronto on Aug 2
- United Airlines flight UA375 from San Francisco to Vancouver on Aug 1
- Air Transat flight TS893 from Cancun to Montreal on Aug 1
- Air Transat flight TS831 from Punta Cana to Toronto on Aug 1
- Air France flight AF034 from Paris to Montreal on Aug 1
- Air Canada flight AC1297 from Punta Cana to Montreal on Aug 1
- Air Canada flight AC1241 from Cancun to Montreal on Aug 1