With still no rapid testing at airports, Houston willing to take the lead

For 171 days, rapid tests have been available to Nova Scotians. For 171 days, they have been kept out of airports to test travellers arriving in Nova Scotia.

PC Leader Tim Houston is willing to help set them up as early as tomorrow.

“Since the new Premier refuses to act on keeping Nova Scotians safe at this point of entry, I contacted him to tell him that our team would volunteer,” says Houston. “We’re happy to work with Dr. Barrett and Joyce Carter at the Airport to ensure this finally gets done.”

Testing wasn't set up in time to catch the cases that ignited this devastating third wave. However, Houston says it is not too late to start now in an effort to slow down, and eventually halt, the spread of COVID-19 into our borders. He notes there are really only two ways these variants could enter Nova Scotia: via our airport or our land border with New Brunswick.

“Over the past two weeks, there have been at least 30 COVID-19 exposure notifications from flights landing in Halifax,” says Houston. “With arrivals of 250 to 300 people per day, that means - on average - there is an exposure for nearly every flight arriving in Nova Scotia.”

The federal government website states that 785,897 rapid test kits have been distributed to Nova Scotia. Their data notes that only 81,434 have been used to date, meaning we have 704,463 unused rapid test kits on hand.

“This testing is not in place of the 14-day quarantine,” says Houston. “It is an added layer of protection for Nova Scotians. If a traveller tests positive, they’ll be less likely to break the rules and thus, less likely to expose our province to this deadly virus.”

Currently, incoming temporary foreign workers are being tested as they arrive. Houston cites it as proof it can be done, and notes support from the airports, leading doctors and the business leaders for the overdue change. Houston says he and his Metro MLAs are happy to assist.

“We’ll drive the tests out; we’ll take part in the appropriate training and establish shifts so that no one arrives in this province without being tested.”