International travellers coming back to Alberta to undergo thermal scan, isolation plan
EDMONTON -- Albertans who were travelling internationally will have to undergo COVID-19 symptom tests and quarantine upon their arrival in the province.
Premier Jason Kenney announced Wednesday infrared scanners will be set up in the international arrival terminals at the Edmonton and Calgary international airports.
“If people are found to have a temperature initially, they’ll do a second check with a thermometer to confirm whether or not they have a temperature,” he explained.
While travel into Alberta has dropped in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said it's still causing new cases in the province, with most of the imported cases coming from the United States.
“Even though our travel volumes have decreased, we do continue to see imported cases,” she said.
“That is why it is so critical that anyone that is travelling respect that 14-day quarantine period when they return, because while we’re cautiously relaunching here and other places, COVID is still out there.”
The measure is one of several precautions being put in place: flyers will also answer a questionnaire to self-identify any symptoms they may be experiencing and their ability to isolate alone and get essentials like food and medications.
The government will help those who are unable to quarantine alone by providing a hotel room and per diems. It'll also follow up with all travellers within three days to ensure they are following public health orders and have the support they need.
The estimated cost of the program, which Alberta Health says it the first in the country, is $800,000.
“The first cases in this province came from international travel," Kenney said, speaking about the personal and economic impacts of COVID-19 in Alberta.
“I just don’t want to see those sacrifices wasted or those gains lost by not taking every necessary precaution at the border for international arrivals.”
The Canada-U.S. border is closed until at least June 21.
When Alberta enters the second stage of its relaunch, a checkpoint will also be set up at the busiest Alberta-U.S. crossing in Coutts.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Sarah Plowman