‘Virtually inconceivable’ to maintain COVID-19 variants out, officers say, as flights from hotspots proceed

2021-04-21 23:48:19

It’s virtually “inconceivable” to maintain regarding mutations of COVID-19 in another country, Canada’s prime docs warned on Wednesday.

Since April 6, greater than 100 worldwide flights touchdown in Canada have carried at the least one optimistic COVID-19 case on board, based on the federal authorities.

“We all know that, with viruses, it’s virtually inconceivable to forestall new variants from arriving right here in Canada,” mentioned deputy chief public well being officer Dr. Howard Njoo, talking in French throughout a COVID-19 replace on April 21.

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As a substitute, he mentioned, Canada ought to deal with its response when these variants virtually inevitably worm their method into the nation.

“It’s essential to determine what it’s we’re doing inside our nation as soon as these new variants have emerged right here,” Njoo mentioned.

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“It’s essential to do contact tracing and many testing, there are a lot of issues that we should proceed to do right here in Canada moreover simply specializing in what’s occurring on the border.”


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When Variants of Concern (VOC) began to emerge, notably the B.1.1.7 variant that was first detected in the UK, Canada tightened up its air-travel-related COVID-19 detection measures. These measures included obligatory COVID-19 pre-boarding checks for passengers adopted by checks upon arrival and a government-mandated quarantine.

“The testing has been very useful,” mentioned Theresa Tam, public well being officer of Canada.

She added that they’ve been “detecting optimistic” circumstances on the border and “sequencing each considered one of them” to find out what variants is likely to be coming into the nation.

India particularly has seen a flood of latest COVID-19 infections, with almost 300,000 new circumstances recorded on Wednesday alone. Ontario’s authorities has been “pleading” with the federal authorities to ban flights from India and different hot-spot nations, the place flights proceed to the touch down on Canadian floor.

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Within the final two weeks, 35 incoming flights from India have carried at the least one case of COVID-19, based on the federal authorities.

Nonetheless, Tam was reticent to advise a country-specific flight ban on Wednesday, utilizing the P.1 variant that first emerged in Brazil as a key instance of why such bans might be troublesome.

“The P.1 variant has been picked up by border screening, however not simply from Brazil,” Tam defined.

“It’s really in … someplace between 40 and 50 different nations [now]. So country-specific focused measures can solely go thus far.”

Njoo echoed the priority.

“Have a look at what’s occurring with the variant recognized in the UK,” he mentioned.

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Canada slapped a country-specific flight ban on the UK in late December when B.1.1.7 variant COVID-19 circumstances have been surging throughout the pond. Regardless of that ban, B.1.1.7 circumstances have nonetheless made their method into the nation — and are spreading quick.

“A mean of 46 deaths have been reported each day over the previous week, which was 28 per cent greater than the week prior. There are over 17,300 variant of concern circumstances reported to this point throughout Canada, with the B.1.1.7 variant accounting for nearly 96 per cent of those,” Tam mentioned Wednesday.

In the meantime, provincial governments are speeding to vaccinate as many Canadians as they’ll, in what public well being officers have billed a race between variants and vaccines. Greater than 10 million vaccine doses have been administered to this point.

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However as COVID-19 circumstances proceed to climb, officers warned that vaccines alone received’t be sufficient to usher in a reopening or an finish to restrictions.

“With vaccines on board, the probabilities of (a resurgence) could also be diminished, nevertheless it’s not fully eradicated,” Tam mentioned.

“It needs to be each public well being measures and the vaccine … to plank the curve once more. That’s what’s going to allow us to have extra rest in these restrictive public well being measures.”

–With recordsdata from The Canadian Press, Reuters





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