air canada covid flights

Flights with confirmed cases of COVID-19 keep landing in Toronto

Back in January, when the first whispers of a nefarious "coronavirus" started swirling in Toronto, all eyes were on the skies.

Every known case of the mysterious viral illness up until early March had entered the city via airline, after all, detected in passengers flying from China, Italy, Iran, Egypt or their immediate contacts.

It wasn't until March, after the WHO had officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, that instances of community spread started overtaking travel-related cases locally.

Now, with community-spread cases falling steadily and reports of dozens of planes flying into or out of Canada with COVID-19 in recent weeks, people are starting to grow leery of flight-enabled spread once again.

The federal government is now maintaining a non-exhaustive database of "locations where you may have been exposed to COVID-19" for recent air, rail and cruise ship passengers based on information from provincial, territorial and international health authorities.

At least 18 flights with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have flown into Canada from international destinations over the past two weeks, according to the database, ten of them into Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

Another three domestic flights with confirmed cases of COVID-19 aboard entered Toronto via Montreal within the same period of time.

Departure destinations for flights coming into Toronto over the past two weeks with confirmed cases of COVID-19 include Washington, D.C., Charlotte, North Carolina, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Canada's borders were closed to all non-essential travellers on March 18 and citizens in high-risk countries were repatriated.

International border closures remain in place today, as do mandatory 14-day quarantine orders for anyone returning home from abroad, but a series of exemptions mean that flights are still going into and out of Canada from all over the globe.

Canadian citizens, permanent residents, the immediate family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and some other foreign nationals (including U.S. citizens) are currently allowed to come to Canada for non-essential reasons, if eligible.

A full list of flights on which passengers may have been exposed to the virus is available here, but only includes information recorded after June 30.

Lead photo by

Kevin Hackert


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