TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford says his government plans to implement mandatory testing at Toronto’s largest airport in order to stop the U.K.'s new and more transmissible strain of COVID-19 from entering the province.

The premier made the comments at a news conference on Monday, as he slammed the federal government for not taking the threat of the U.K.-based strain more seriously and increasing safety and testing measures at all Canadian airports.

“I'm extremely alarmed by reports of a new strain of COVID-19 that is much more contagious than what we have seen, and we've been facing so far. This is an extremely serious threat,” Ford told reporters. “We need to ensure that our border is secure. We need to be certain that we are catching cases of COVID before they have a chance of spreading in our communities.”

“I'm not waiting for the federal government, or I'll be waiting forever. We're going out there; we're going to start testing people at the airports.”

The premier said that more than 64,000 people are going “basically unchecked” through Toronto Pearson Airport every week. He claims that almost no travellers coming into the country are following the 14-day quarantine rules.

“These folks are roaming the streets and we're letting it happen,” Ford said.

The premier said he has asked the federal government repeatedly to implement testing at airports, but has been ignored.

“Why they're ignoring us on this is beyond me … At a minimum, we need to test air travelers when they arrive at the airport,” he said. “But, I’ll tell you, if the prime minister doesn't want to do it. I’m going to do it. I'm not going to put the people of Ontario at risk just because the federal government doesn’t want to do tests.”

Ford said he is still hoping the federal government will step in and implement testing at airports country-wide, but noted that if there is no movement, then the province will bring testing, at least, to Toronto Pearson Airport.

“I implore the federal government to take action, action at the borders, not just in Ontario, in my opinion, right across the country as people are flowing in,” Ford said.

“I can promise the people of Ontario. I'm not waiting for the federal government anymore. We will be doing tests at the airport as sure as I'm talking to you today.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Sunday evening that Canada would restrict flights from the U.K. for at least 72 hours, but Ford and his health minister say the suspension is not enough to deal with the pending crisis.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott told reporters on Monday that the new strain of the virus might be 70 per cent more transmissible.

“It has been extremely important to make sure that our borders are secure, to make sure that we are checking people that are coming in,” Elliott said. “We have asked the federal government on a number of occasions, since the beginning for further assistance with this, but if we have to do it, we will do it alone because this is a vital part of reducing transmission.”

Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams told reporters at the news conference that zero cases of the new strain have been detected in Ontario, but some countries outside of the U.K. have already reported cases of the new strain.

“Our main task is to make sure it doesn't come in to someone's respiratory system in Canada,” Williams said. “We're keeping an eye on. We're watching for it.”

Ford said the province would support travellers in need of a quarantining space with the use of COVID-19 hotels, which he said are “ready to go.” While Ford has vowed he will soon test travellers, the government has not released any details on specific plans to do so

“We have to tighten up the borders. It's as simple as that,” he said. “Let's get the testing at the airport and stop the leak, stop the leak.”