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Testing better than travel ban 'whack-a-mole,' infectious disease specialist says

·1 min read

OTTAWA — An Ontario infectious disease specialist says there is evidence testing all travellers before and after they arrive in Canada will identify most cases of COVID-19 coming into the country.

Dr. Zain Chagla says playing "whack-a-mole" with travel bans affecting only some countries is based on political expediency, not science.

He points to the start of the pandemic when Canada's travel policies targeted China and Iran, and COVID-19 rapidly entered Canada from the United States and western Europe.

Chagla says Omicron is already spreading in multiple countries not targeted by Canada's travel ban including the United States, which isn't even being subjected to enhanced testing policies yet.

He says a study done in Canada in the fall of 2020 concluded that a single test done the day people arrive will pick up two-thirds of those infected with COVID-19.

A test done one week later identified another 25 per cent of cases while only six per cent were detected with a test taken two weeks after arrival.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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