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Entire plane affected by COVID days after Canada implements negative test requirement

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All rows.

That’s how Health Canada described the impact of two Air Transat flights that landed in Montreal from Haiti this week, purportedly carrying so many infected passengers that everybody on board was at risk.

And while Transport Canada made negative COVID-19 tests mandatory on Jan. 7 for passengers boarding a Canada-bound plane, flights from Haiti are exempt from this rule until Jan. 21.

Both TS663 on Jan. 10 and TS665 on Jan 13 — operated using dual-aisle, wide-body Airbus A330s capable of carrying between 345 and 375 passengers — were identified by Health Canada as flights with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Initially listing TS663’s affected rows as “unknown,” Health Canada updated the flight’s status on Friday to “all rows.”

Saturday’s update added TS665 to the list, likewise listed as “all rows.”

A third Air Transat Montreal-to-Haiti flight, TS663 on Jan. 3, is also listed by Health Canada, with COVID-19 infections impacting rows 44 to 49.

On Friday, the Toronto Sun reported 35 International flights landed at Canadian airports since the negative COVID test rule was enacted between Jan. 7 and Jan. 13 — the most recent arrival on the list.

As of Health Canada’s latest update, that number now sits at 72.

So far this year, 234 international flights carrying COVID-19 infected passengers have landed in Canada.

None of these numbers are exhaustive, as they’re updated daily as contact tracers continue their work identifying the sources of new infections.

Published on Friday by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Canada’s Jan. 3 to Jan. 9 weekly epidemiology report lists 128 out of the 5,351 known and investigated cases — about 2% — linked to exposure from a traveller, and 47 cases that reported having travelled outside of Canada.

While roughly half of the week’s known and investigated cases (2,688) came from contact with a known COVID-19 case in Canada, 2,488 cases were listed as having an unknown source.

For context, the same report lists 56,635 new COVID-19 infections over the same time period.

A PHAC spokesperson told the Sun it’s impossible to know if a passenger became infected before, during or after their flight.

Inquires to Air Transat, and the offices of both the Health and Transport Minister weren’t returned by press time.


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