International travellers arriving at Pearson, can be tested for COVID-19 on the spot

An almost-empty Terminal 3 is shown at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Friday, March 13, 2020. Provincial governments have advised against international travel and Ontario announced plans to close its schools for two weeks because of COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Starting today, international travellers arriving at Toronto's Pearson airport can be tested for COVID-19 as part of a voluntary study to explore the effectiveness of quarantines.

The month-long project, run by McMaster HealthLabs, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority and Air Canada, will see participants provide a sample to researchers in the terminal and two more self-collected samples seven and fourteen days after touchdown.

The samples, obtained via nose and throat swabs, will then be analyzed for COVID-19 at St. Joseph's hospital research institute in Hamilton.

The organizers say participants will be notified electronically within 48 hours of the first results, which will remain confidential and be aggregated for independent data analysis by the University of Toronto's school of public health.

The study comes in advance of a pilot project by WestJet Airlines Ltd. and Vancouver International Airport to test passengers voluntarily for the coronavirus on some departing flights starting later this fall.

The trial studies mark the latest move in a broader push by carriers to show they are serious about combating viral spread as they try to coax Canadians back to the skies.