The Canadian Armed Forces helped establish a COVID-19 test facility at the Douglas Port of Entry in South Surrey. (Aaron Hinks photo)

The Canadian Armed Forces helped establish a COVID-19 test facility at the Douglas Port of Entry in South Surrey. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Armed forces assisting with COVID-19 test site at Peace Arch border crossing

As of Feb. 22, travellers at land borders will be required to take a test using a self-swab kit.

The Canadian Armed Forces is helping establish a COVID-19 testing site at the Douglas Port of Entry.

In a news release issued Saturday, the Public Health Agency of Canada said the CAF is providing preliminary logistics to support the creation of a COVID-19 testing site at the Douglas Port of Entry (Peace Arch crossing).

“With new COVID-19 variant detections increasing, the Government of Canada recently announced further testing and quarantine requirements for travellers at land ports of entry,” the news release states.

“It is mandatory for travellers arriving at Canada’s land ports of entry, unless exempted, to present proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours before entry into Canada.”

As of Feb. 22, travellers entering Canada at land borders, unless exempt, will be required to take a test using a self-swab kit. The test can be taken either at the traveller’s quarantine location or at a border testing site.

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“There will be on-site testing provided at five high-volume land ports of entry as of February 22, 2021 and 11 additional ports of entry as of March 4, 2021. The kit will include instructions on how and when to collect their second required test on day 10 of their 14-day quarantine,” the release said.

The CAF will not be involved in testing, quarantine or enforcement at the border, the release adds.

“CAF’s role is only to support planning, logistics and set up the testing sites. Once this preliminary logistics work is complete, CAF will transition out of this support role.”

The government had announced the plan for the new border controls last month but how they will work, who might be exempted and how they will be enforced was laid out Friday.

Forcing new arrivals into a mandatory three-day hotel quarantine — at their own expense — and requiring a COVID-19 test when they get here is meant to help ward off new and more transmissible variants of COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande says that military assistance includes sending some service members to different sites to help with planning and logistics.

“In co-ordination with PHAC and Public Safety, CAF planners from regional joint task forces are assisting in the assessment of options, in some cases through on-the-ground assistance in reconnaissance, related to planning and logistics,” she said in an email.

– with files from Canadian Press