Premier Rankin non-committal on COVID19 testing at Halifax Stanfield

Premier Iain Rankin. (Communications N.S. Photo)

HALIFAX: The Premier of Nova Scotia danced around a question from The Laker News, when asked why, with higher case numbers of COVID-19 in the province, there still isn’t testing upon entry for travellers on flights arriving at Halifax Stanfield Airport.

Recent days, there’s been numerous flights, whether Air Canada or WestJet that have had been listed on the potential COVID-019 exposure advisories.

At the May 7 COVID-19 Press briefing, we asked Premier Iain Rankin about knowing the variants are more dangerous and how the province could catch it before it spread in the province, why there wasn’t testing.

He answered speaking about the newest restrictions the province had implemented, including how rotational workers from the hot spot areas across Canada, such as Fort McMurray, Alta.

“We made an adjustment today for rotational workers to minimize any chance of any spread to family members or friends,” he said in responding to our question. “We have had good compliance.

“It’s important to people to know that everyone coming in is tested on either day one or day two.”

VIDEO of us asking this question is at the start of the video. Video edited by: Dagley Media.

Those changes will now see, effective immediately, rotational workers who are returning home from outbreak zones can no longer do the modified form of self-isolation. They must self-isolate for 14 days in a completely separate space from the other people in their households, but they can share a bathroom that is cleaned between uses.

Except for their mandatory COVID-19 testing, they cannot attend medical appointments unless there is an emergency.

In a release later on May 7, PC leader Tim Houston said he doesn’t understand why Premier Rankin continues to refuse to implement rapid testing at the airport.

Despite the closure of our borders – an acknowledgment that they are a source of the virus coming into Nova Scotia – the Premier still would not commit to rapid testing at HSIA.

“We heard the Liberals say they are tightening up our land border to ensure travellers aren’t importing more variants into the province. Why do they continue to ignore the airport?” asked Houston.

“It was noted in the same press conference that temporary foreign workers receive a rapid test at the airport and that some cases were initially identified on entry. It is indefensible that the same logic is not applied to every traveller.

“Halifax Stanfield Airport has been asking for this, yet the Premier is not listening and refuses to shut the door the variant is walking through,” said Houston.

Premier Rankin said they will continue talks with Halifax Stanfield on testing there.

“We’ll continue the discussion on testing that is closer to the point of entry,” said Rankin.