Health Canada is warning passengers that over a dozen Montreal flights have had COVID-19 exposures on planes over the past week.
Since last week, 15 international and domestic flights going into and out of Montreal have had exposure to the virus.
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Most recently, an AeroMexico flight (AM636) touched down in Montreal from Mexico City on Saturday, January 23.
The government website doesn’t list the number of passengers per flight, only which rows have been affected.
Over the past week, Montreal-bound international flights came from Mexico, Newark, Amsterdam, Cancun, Washington, Fort Lauderdale, Port-au-Prince, and Paris.
Domestically, flights going to and from Montreal came from Ottawa, Toronto, Puvirnituq, and Vancouver.
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.