Why was travel banned? Not based on any data.
The Vancouver International Airport says no-one who participated in the first phase of rapid COVID-19 test pilot project has turned up positive for the virus.
The airport launched the project, which is in partnership with WestJet, UBC and Providence Healthcare, at the end of November. In the six weeks since, it says more than 300 people have opted to try the rapid testing.
According to interim results released Friday, covering 200 people who flew between Nov. 23 and Dec. 17, 100% of participants tested negative.
Those rapid antigen tests were later confirmed by RT-PCR tests in a lab setting to ensure there were no false negatives, the airport said. “The interim results show promise that transmissible infection in airline passengers departing from YVR is likely to be extremely low (less than 1 per cent),” the airport said in a media release.
Under the pilot project guidelines, WestJet travellers are given the chance to opt in and take a rapid test before flying. If they test positive, they are not permitted to fly that day, pending a lab-confirmed PCR test of their results, and would be rebooked on a future flight at no cost.
The rapid tests take between 15 and 20 minutes to complete.
The airport says in the next phase of the study, eligibility to participate will be expanded to include residents from any part of Canada, and travellers over the age of 80.
Researchers are aiming for a sample size of about 1,000 participants.