Air Travel During The Pandemic
Air Travel is one of the industries that has been heaviest hit by the pandemic over the last 6 months. Between the order to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada and the additional risks associated with spending hours in an enclosed space with a large group of strangers, people just haven’t been flying as much as they used to. Add to that the fact that every day for the last 2 months, BC has seen 1-2 flights arrive with a confirmed COVID-19 positive passenger, and you can understand why people might be extra cautious.
As we reported previously, local and international airlines have begun offering COVID-19 insurance as a way of countering the public perception that flying is currently unsafe. But now the use of “contact airline first” clauses (which forbid the initial use of a third party to file a claim) in airline insurance plans are raising questions about how likely insurance payouts will actually be. A 2019 study showed that as many as 50% of airline insurance claims are rejected by the airline initially, and up to 2/3rds of Canadian claimants will give up their attempts at a claim after an initial rejection. (These numbers do not specifically reflect claims involving COVID-19)
Potentially being exposed to COVID-19 isn’t the only way the pandemic has affected air travel for Canadians either. Since the pandemic was declared in March, countless flights have been delayed or cancelled, and rather than full refunds airlines have instead handed out flight vouchers for later use. But in this current world, with mass flight cancellations being compounded with mass layoffs, most people receiving these vouchers probably couldn’t use them if they wanted to. This situation has led to over 8,000 complaints filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency, and a class-action lawsuit.
While it is still believed that the risks involved in flying are still relatively low, even now at 6 months into this pandemic, our ability to screen passengers before flying is quite limited. Currently, Canadian airports are only screening for symptoms voluntarily disclosed, and checking temperatures; and since February over 1000 flights in Canada have had at least 1 COVID-19 positive passenger. But there may be some hope that things will improve soon! Today Health Canada announced the approval of the rapid COVID-19 testing system ‘ID Now’. While the accuracy of this newly approved testing system seems inconsistent from existing studies, the bar set by temperature checking is set incredibly low.
Canada Recovery Benefit: Passes Vote
For those of you whose employment has been affected by COVID-19, but do not qualify for the enhanced EI program, you will be happy to hear that the bill introducing the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) passed the vote in the House of Commons today, surprisingly with unanimous support from all parties. This also means that we will not have a snap federal election immediately following our provincial election.
China Vaccinations Ramping Up
Despite their COVID-19 vaccine not being fully approved yet, many Chinese citizens, CCP members, politicians and almost every executive that works at the China National Biotec Group, (and its parent company Sinopharm), have now been vaccinated with their leading candidate. The vaccine in question, developed by Sinopharm, is expected to receive full approval perhaps as early as October, in a bid to beat a possible US vaccine approval hinted to take place before the November presidential election.
Grand Opening Raffle – 5 days left
To celebrate our grand opening, we are giving away one of the special limited edition Dr. Bonnie Henry themed Compass Cards. To enter the raffle just leave a comment on any of the weekly posts starting today until October 4th. Maximum of one entry per day, and no more than 5 entries per person. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced on Monday, October 5th’s daily post.
That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!