As part of our commitment to actively participate in ways to reopen travel safely, we're supporting a new voluntary COVID-19 testing initiative together with our partners at Air Canada. For the next few weeks, international passengers arriving at Toronto Pearson Airport have the opportunity to participate in a voluntary COVID-19 test. PressReader has joined this new initiative by giving all participants 14 days of complimentary PressReader access as a thank you for taking part in this program. Even though test participants will still be required to isolate for 14 days after their arrival, PressReader will be there with them, as a perfect companion to stay up-to-date and entertained. We think it's a great initiative. Go ahead, watch the video to learn more about the program:
As part of the research study, McMaster HealthLabs are conducting all tests. While there are many moving parts, the objective is to help determine if an airport-based surveillance program is feasible and, most important - to open the conversation surrounding the current mandatory 14-day quarantine for all international travelers arriving in Canada.
"Air Canada has advocated for the adoption of rational, science-based measures in Canada relating to COVID-19, to allow for the prudent easing of travel restrictions and the mandatory 14-day quarantine, thereby striking a better balance for travelers and for the Canadian economy without adversely impacting public health. We are pleased to co-sponsor this extremely important study, which we believe should provide alternatives to the current blanket restrictions and quarantine,"
"Air Canada believes that issues arising from COVID-19 related to travel can be safely managed using a science-based approach. The study performed by MHL, whose team has years of infectious disease academic research experience, should improve the understanding of the prevalence of COVID-19 among travelers so that safety measures implemented are proportionate to the actual risk." - Dr. Jim Chung, Chief Medical Officer at Air Canada.
While a negative test, as part of this research study, won’t waive mandatory quarantine period for travelers, we hope the results of the research might open conversations for new ways of setting globally unified quarantine lengths, procedures, and recommendations. We're hopeful these measures will support the reopening of travel for businesses and global economies to start recovery efforts.
Our commitment to travel
There are many ways PressReader is working to support the safe reopening of travel. Another one of those includes our membership with partner organizations. World Travel & Tourism Council and 120 of the world’s major travel & global business leaders have recently sent letters calling for leadership and strong international coordination from the G7 group of countries*, the European Commission, as well as Australia, South Korea, and Spain, as the most important source markets in Travel & Tourism, to save the struggling Travel & Tourism sector and recover the millions of jobs already impacted.
In the letters, WTTC has identified four measures which need a unified international framework and leadership to combat COVID-19:
- Wearing a mask: This should be mandatory on all modes of transport throughout the entire traveler journey, as well as when visiting any interior venue and in locations where there is restricted movement, which results in close personal contact and required physical distancing cannot be maintained. According to medical evidence, such measures can reduce the risk of the spread by up to 92%.
- Testing and contact tracing: Governments to invest and agree on extensive, rapid, and reliable testing, ideally with results available in as quick as 90 minutes, and at a low cost, before departure and/ or after arrival (symptomatic and asymptomatic would-be travelers), supported by effective and agreed on contact tracing tools. The application of one or multiple tests, with the second after five days, will help to isolate infected people.
- Quarantine for positive tests only: Quarantine for healthy travelers, which only serves to damage the economy, should not be necessary if testing is in place before departure and/or on arrival, and effective containment measures are taken five days later. This can replace blanket quarantine in a more targeted and effective way, significantly reducing the negative impact on jobs and the economy.
- Reinforcing global protocols and standardize measures:The adoption of global health and safety protocols will help rebuild traveler confidence and ensure a consistent, coordinated and aligned approach of the travel experience in addition to significantly reducing the risk of infection. And to support the Public Health Corridor Concept, which promotes a clean and safe end-to-end journey.
WTTC research has shown that even a modest return of traveling would have massive economic benefits and bring thousands of desperately needed jobs back; providing a critical boost for the struggling Travel & Tourism sector and generating desperately needed GDP for economies left floundering after being struck by the pandemic.
*G7 group of countries: Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, UK, and the USA.
At PressReader, we’re supporting incredible initiatives happening worldwide where we can. We hope that in sharing what just a handful of what our partners are doing and how we're supporting them, we might encourage world governments to consider new ways of traveling safely.
Several months ago, our friends at the WTTC created a beautiful video to remind us just how important travel is: “Even when we have to stay apart, travel can still bring us closer.” And we agree. Because as we do our part to support COVID-19 research and open conversations, we know we’re a part of something bigger — the global travel community and the road to recovery.