TORONTO — Within the last two weeks — the 14-day window believed by scientists to be the incubation period of COVID-19 — at least 26 flights have arrived in Canadian airports with confirmed cases of the virus onboard.
According to the federal government, COVID-19 cases have been reported among passengers on 10 domestic flights and 16 international flights since June 29. It advises the list is not exhaustive and is based on information from “provincial and territorial health authorities, international health authorities and public websites.”
The affected international flights arrived in Canadian airports from Mexico City, Cancun, Zurich, Paris, Addis Ababa, Islamabad, Lahore, Qatar, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Detroit, and three flights from Charlotte, N.C.
Health officials in British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are advising those on board 11 flights into those provinces in the last two weeks that fellow passengers have since tested positive for COVID-19.
Manitoba health officials said Tuesday that one of five new positive cases in the province was a passenger on WestJet flight 261 from Winnipeg to Calgary on June 27 and on WestJet flight 526 from Calgary to Winnipeg on July 2.
Officials said those who sat in rows 7 to 22 on the Winnipeg to Calgary flight and rows 4 to 10 on the Calgary to Winnipeg flight are considered close contacts of the infected passenger. They must self-isolate for 14 days following the flight and monitor for symptoms.
Those not sitting in the affected rows should self-isolate if they develop any symptoms of COVID-19: fever/chills, cough, headache, muscle aches, sore or hoarse throat, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties, loss of taste or smell, unusual fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite or lesions or rashes without clear cause.
Saskatchewan has red-flagged five flights since June 11 and two in the last two weeks: WestJet flight 296 from Calgary to Regina on July 6 (no information on affected rows is available) and July 4: Air Canada 7947 from Toronto to Regina, rows 14 to 20.
Health authorities in B.C. say four affected flights have landed in Vancouver in the last two weeks.
They are: Air Canada 8421 from Kelowna on July 6; Air Canada 311 from Montreal on July 8; American Airlines 1270 from Dallas on July 6; and, United Airlines 375 from San Francisco on July 7. Affected rows are not listed for any of these flights.
Manitoba has kept a running tally of affected flights since the beginning of March that includes 43 domestic and international flights either departing from or landing at a Canadian airport that have had one or more passengers test positive for COVID-19.
Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces don’t specifically post information about flights affected by COVID-19.
On July 8, the Nova Scotia Health Authority did warn of potential exposure on a June 26 Air Canada flight (AC 626) from Toronto to Halifax.
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