Nova Scotians keep asking: ‘Why is there no testing at airports?’

If you're coming to Nova Scotia by air, you should be rapid-tested at the airport. That’s the position of the PCs, the business community, leading health experts and airports themselves.

In the wake of restrictions announced Tuesday, many wonder why airport testing is still not in place for travellers. PC Leader Tim Houston says only the Premier is holding it back.

“It’s overdue,” says Houston. “We could have been tracking everyone coming in and had six months of travel data by now. It would make us a safer province.”

Houston points out that recently-identified cases of COVID-19 are linked to travel outside Atlantic Canada, some with variant strains. Houston praised Public Health for consistently putting out COVID-19 flight exposure warnings after the fact, but says Nova Scotians want an extra layer of protection. He has been calling for testing at airports since last year.

“Our health system was in crisis before the pandemic," says Houston. “Seeing what is happening elsewhere, and without the ICU capacity, we can’t fumble into a third wave here."

In an article published early this month, epidemiologist Dr. Lisa Barrett has suggested that the province needs to offer more ways to test people, including testing at airports. Dr. Barrett successfully pushed the government towards broad asymptomatic testing that helped crush the spike of COVID-19 in November 2020.

“Before the November wave, there were no pop-up tests,” said Houston. “Now people are lined up around the block to get tested and that’s been a big factor in keeping cases low.”

Houston says that the Premier should be listening to the experts like the former Premier did, instead of directing them.

“Nova Scotians know how lucky we are to live here, but we know full well the freedom we enjoy is one flight-exposure away from our hard work slipping away,” he concluded. “I’d like to see that additional protection for Nova Scotians.”

“This should be a no-brainer.”