Coronavirus: Kelowna airport still receiving flights from Seattle despite the U.S. leading the world in infections

While traffic at Kelowna International Airport has dropped significantly, YLW is still receiving flights from the United States — which now leads the world in the number of coronavirus infections.

Last week, the federal government announced that only four Canadian airports would be allowed to receive international flights to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Exemptions were given to flights coming from the U.S., the Caribbean and Mexico.

“At the time, there were still a lot of Canadians that were still abroad,” Samaddar said.

“You look at the sun destinations, you look at Phoenix, you look at Vegas, they were really returning Canadians allowed that to continue to allow those people to get back home.”

While there are no longer flights from the Caribbean or Mexico coming into YLW, the Alaska Airlines flight is still operating between the Okanagan and Seattle.

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“The further order that was then issued after that was really travel between the U.S. and Canada would only be allowed for emergency business reasons,” Samaddar said.

Samaddar said passengers getting off that flight are being screened and mandated to self-isolate for 14 days.

“The screening protocols they have are the same as you would have at any of those restricted international airports,” he said.

“The Canada Border Services Agency here in Kelowna is working very closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada and so the passengers are interviewed, they have to sign a declaration, and they’re also given information directly about having to self-quarantine as they move out into the general population.”

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