Health Canada is warning passengers that three Montreal-bound flights have had COVID-19 exposure in every row throughout the trio of planes.
All three flights landed at Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
from Haiti over the past 10 days, the most recent of which landed at YUL this past Sunday.
Two other flights from earlier in January were deemed to have “all rows” affected by passengers who eventually tested positive for COVID-19, according to Health Canada.
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The government website doesn’t list the number of passengers per flight, it only which rows have been affected.
All three flights departed from Port-au-Prince airport with Air Transat.
Since the start of the new year, 54 domestic and international flights that departed from or landed in Montreal have had a COVID-19 exposure.
New Canadian travel rules have been in effect since January 7 which require all air travellers bound for Canada to present a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test in order to fly.
All flyers above the age of five are required to take a coronavirus molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours before their flight’s scheduled departure. Test results must come back negative with written or electronic proof, and documentation must be presented to airlines before boarding.
If a negative PCR test is not provided, travellers will be denied entry to flights within Canada, unless otherwise exempt.
Earlier this winter, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, said there have been “very few reports” of COVID-19 spreading on board airplanes. She says it’s “extremely rare,” and as doctors and scientists learn more about the ventilation on modern aircraft, they are not as hospitable to the virus as previously thought.
“There’s been very few reports, extremely rare reports actually, of transmission aboard aircraft,” Tam said. “The modern aircraft is actually really good in terms of air exchanges and the way that airflow occurs in the cabin.”
Tam says that procedures such as mandatory mask-wearing and proper physical distancing should help limit the spread of COVID-19 on an aircraft.
A number of Canadian politicians revealed they had travelled internationally over the holidays, even as COVID-19 cases soared across the country.