Experts: Random COVID-19 testing resumes at four major airports

Published: 19 July 2022

Mandatory random COVID-19 testing resumed on Tuesday, July 19 for vaccinated travellers coming into Canada through four major airports. The tests for select passengers landing in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal will be completed outside the airports, either through an in-person appointment or a virtual appointment for a self-swab test. (Toronto Star)

Here are some experts from McGill University that can provide comment on this issue:

David Juncker, Full Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering

“Random testing is not useful to limit transmission when we already have widespread transmission in Canada. However, it could be helpful as a public health measure to identify new COVID-19 variants, but only if samples were collected (at the airport) and sent to a centralized lab with sequencing capability. As discussed in the media, it will be via off-site testing and self-testing, which is unlikely to prevent COVID-19 transmission.”

David Juncker is a Full Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and a Principal Investigator at the McGill Genome Centre. His research covers new high throughput screening technologies, organ-on-a-chip systems, 3D printing and 3D bioprinting, and clinical and point-of-care diagnostic tests, and most recently, rapid tests for COVID-19.

david.juncker [at] (English, French)

Michael Libman, Full Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

“It certainly is important to have some idea about how much COVID-19 is being imported into the country, as well as what types of variants are present. However, the question is more about finding the most cost-effective way of achieving this and having a plan for how to interpret and act on the information.”

Michael Libman is a Full Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Director of the J.D. MacLean Centre for Tropical Diseases at the McGill University Health Centre. His research is on tropical and travel related illness, with a particular focus on the epidemiology of imported infections.

michael.libman [at] (English, French)

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