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International travellers coming into Ontario's biggest airport will now be able to get a free and voluntary COVID-19 test, announced Premier Doug Ford on Wednesday.

The pilot initiative to supply COVID-19 tests at Pearson is intended to help the province identify and curb infections.

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With over 60,000 international passengers coming into Pearson airport every week, we can't take any unnecessary risks. Premier Doug Ford

"It's a gamechanger," said Ford of the new tests.

He claims that this initiative will "respond to new threats like the recent strain of the virus we're seeing in an alarming number of countries without the same travel restrictions as the U.K."

Travellers can pre-register for the program on Pearson's website. If they're eligible, they can receive their test when they arrive.

Test results will be recorded by the province within 48 hours. Local public health units will follow up about positive results.

During his Wednesday press conference, Ford said that there have been 1,300 flights with a potential risk of COVID-19 since September 2020, and 31 international flights with exposure in the last two weeks alone.

As of Thursday, January 7, all travellers will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight to Canada.

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