COVID-19 on flights: Exposures on planes continue as feds consider quarantine changes

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has added 10 flights to its list of COVID-19 exposures so far this week.

The centre added two flights to the list on Sunday, three on Monday, two on Tuesday and three on Wednesday.

Though they were added to the list this week, the flights in question took off from or landed at B.C. airports between May 28 and June 6.

Details of the latest additions to the list follow.

  • May 28: Air Canada/Jazz flight 8567 from Regina to Vancouver (rows 12 to 17)
  • May 31: Air Canada/Jazz flight 8550 from Vancouver to Regina (rows 23 to 27)
  • June 1: Air Canada flight 128 from Vancouver to Toronto (rows 23 to 29)
  • June 1: Air Canada/Jazz flight 8401 from Calgary to Kelowna (rows seven to 13)
  • June 3: Turkish Airlines flight 75 from Istanbul to Vancouver (rows 29 to 35)
  • June 3: Philippine Airlines flight 166 from Manila to Vancouver (rows 51 to 57)
  • June 4: Air Canada/Jazz flight 8408 from Vancouver to Kelowna (rows 12 to 18)
  • June 6: Air Canada/Jazz flight 8421 from Kelowna to Vancouver (rows four to 10)
  • June 6: Air Canada flight 553 from Los Angeles to Vancouver (rows one to four)
  • June 6: Turkish Airlines flight 75 from Istanbul to Vancouver (rows nine to 15)

Anyone who was on any of the affected flights should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, seeking testing and self-isolating if any develop, according to the BCCDC.

Passengers who were seated in the rows listed are considered to be at greater risk because of their proximity to a confirmed case of the coronavirus.

While studies have shown that the risk of transmission on airplanes is low, there have been some examples of it happening. 

Four of the 10 flights added so far this week were international. The full list of COVID-19 exposures on B.C. flights is posted on the BCCDC website

Currently, travellers arriving from outside Canada are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flights and take a second test upon landing in Canada. After arrival, they must self-isolate for 14 days, the first three of which must be spent in a government-approved quarantine hotel.

The federal government announced Wednesday that it plans to change those rules as early as July, removing the self-isolation requirement for Canadians who are fully vaccinated. 

Wednesday's announcement provided little comfort to tourism-reliant businesses in B.C., which expressed concern about a lack of clarity in the government's plans, as well as disappointment that fully vaccinated travellers from other countries would not be allowed to skip the quarantine requirement. 

There are no self-isolation requirements for domestic travellers arriving in B.C., and the province's restart plan calls for province-wide travel for tourism as early as June 15. Canada-wide travel for non-essential purposes could resume as early as July 1.