Edmonton: Alberta is ramping up screening of international visitors to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Premier Jason Kenney says that starting immediately foreign travellers arriving at airports in Edmonton and Calgary will have their temperature checked using an infrared camera. Starting next week, the plan is to use thermal imagers which can provide more detailed results.
Travellers must also provide a detailed plan on how they will self-isolate for 14 days.
In two weeks, similar screening is to be set up at the United States border crossing at Coutts, Alta.
“Given that airports and border crossings remain a high-risk vector for transmission, and at the same time a crucial part of the infrastructure needed to get our economy moving, we need to do more,’’ Kenney said
Despite severely reduced travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, about 400 people still arrive weekly at Alberta airports from abroad, mainly through Calgary, Kenney said.
About 90 per cent of land arrivals from the U.S. come through Coutts, which is just north of Montana.
Canada and the U.S. have extended their border closure for non-essential travel to June 21, although truckers with goods are allowed through, as are certain workers and Canadians returning home.
Kenney said people screened will get a followup phone call three days after arrival to make sure they are following the self-isolation plan and have the means to do so.
If the plan is deemed inadequate, the province will help the traveller meet isolation requirements, including lodging if necessary.
There will also be added health measures at airports, including enhanced cleaning and sanitizing of arrival lounges and high-touch surfaces. More hand sanitizer will be made available.
By Dean Bennett
The Canadian Press