Transport Canada late Saturday (January 9) announced that it would allow Canadians in Jamaica to return home without providing proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test.
According to Transport Canada, “exceptional measures” have been implemented to assist citizens currently stuck in Jamaica.
The announced measures, which are temporary, mean that Canadians must agree to a PCR test upon arrival at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport.
“From January 10 to 18, 2021, passengers departing #Jamaica to #YYZ who are unable to get a #COVID19 test may be allowed to fly to #Canada if they consent in advance to take a test at the airport upon arrival,” tweeted Transport Canada.
Transport Canada said that beginning on January 10 until January 18, 2021, travellers departing from Jamaica, who were not able to obtain a COVID-19 test prior to departure, may be allowed to board their flight.
However, travellers must “consent in advance to take a COVID-19 test” at the airport, as well as, maybe subject to other measures deemed suitable by a public health quarantine officer.
Transport Canada suggested that the temporary measures resulted from the reduced testing capacity which have been posing a challenge for those seeking a COVID-19 test in Jamaica.
Several reports have surfaced in local media citing widespread concern among Canadian tourist unable to access testing locations.
At least one Canadian noted that the nearest testing centre was about an hour away, adding that she was unable to secure a test within the necessary 72 hour time frame for her scheduled flight.
The High Park, downtown Toronto resident also used the occasion to slam the government, noting that the new rules, announced on December 30 were too sudden to allow for proper planning.
On December 31, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that all airline passengers would be required to provide proof of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test, 72 hours prior to arrival in the country.
Canada’s major carriers, WestJet and Air Canada, both provide at minimum weekly service between Jamaica’s two airports and Pearson.