UPDATE: After this story was printed, the Canadian authorities introduced a ban on passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days.
As world COVD-19 case counts hit new data, stress is mounting on the Canadian authorities to do extra on the borders to cease the unfold of the virus — and new variants from getting into the nation.
Requires extra motion are rising because the B.1.617 variant, first detected in India — which is being described as a “double mutant” — has now made its approach to Canada.
MPs on Thursday unanimously agreed Canada ought to droop worldwide flights from nations the place COIVD-19 outbreaks are raging.
Earlier within the day, Conservative Chief Erin O’Toole referred to as on the federal authorities to briefly droop flights from hotspot nations instantly.
“This may purchase us time to develop a transparent set of parameters for figuring out the dangers of rising variants and sharing this data clearly with Canadians,” he mentioned.
And Ontario’s authorities has been “pleading” with the federal authorities to ban flights from India and different hot-spot nations.
O’Toole argues Canada wants stricter border measures to battle towards COVID-19 variants
However some specialists say banning worldwide journey isn’t that easy, and isn’t essentially the answer to curbing the unfold of COVID-19.
“I don’t suppose we have to ban worldwide journey,” Ananya Banerjee, assistant professor on the college of inhabitants and world well being at McGill College, informed International Information.
“What we want is common entry to testing and upon arrival to locations the place individuals are arriving from India,” she mentioned. “I believe individuals are very well-equipped now to grasp the significance of quarantining. So I don’t suppose we have to ban flights. The fact is India and Canada are very interconnected.”
Gigi Gronvall, senior scholar on the Johns Hopkins Heart for Well being Safety, mentioned journey restrictions are “difficult” as a result of they are often so broad.
“What we actually must be doing is ramping up throughout the board vaccine efforts and likewise encouraging individuals to do what they know that they need to be doing in terms of stopping transmission,” she informed International Information.
Deputy Chief Public Well being Officer Dr. Howard Njoo mentioned in a vaccine replace Wednesday that it’s “virtually unimaginable” to maintain COVID-19 variants in another country and the following day informed reporters that controlling neighborhood transmission is extra necessary.
“We all know that the share of COVID instances imported into the nation may be very low, after we take a look at what is usually occurring within the nation with neighborhood transmission,” he mentioned throughout a technical briefing Thursday.
“So we must be conscious that, sure, what we’re doing on the borders is necessary. We have to proceed monitoring the scenario, slowing down importation. What’s much more necessary is what we do within the nation inside provinces and territories with neighborhood transmission.”
In an interview with International Information Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated the federal authorities is taking a look at extra COVID-19 measures to guard worldwide borders — however received’t cease flights into Canada from India, which recorded a file every day case surge on Thursday.
That features 32 flights from India, 20 from america, and 10 every from France and the United Arab Emirates.
Within the final two weeks alone, 112 worldwide flights arrived in Canada with at the least one passenger who later examined constructive for COVID-19, in accordance with Well being Canada information.
That features 32 flights from India and 20 from U.S.
Infectious ailments specialist Isaac Bogoch informed International Information something to additional cut back the variety of COVID-19 instances coming into the nation is a constructive step.
“There’s a lot of measures that may be taken,” he mentioned. “It’s necessary to ask ourselves: what’s the precise purpose right here if you wish to zero instances of COVID coming into the nation?
“I’m not saying to do that, however one of many choices is simply cease the flights. Is that sensible? Will that ever be carried out? I do not know. However that’s one measure.”
Presently, all travellers getting into Canada are topic to COVID-19 entry screening, no matter which nation they’re arriving from or how. Anybody coming into Canada should isolate for 14 days if they’ve signs of COVID-19. And, until exempt, they need to quarantine for 14 days if they don’t have signs.
“Even with every of these obstacles, there are workarounds,” Bogoch mentioned.
“However I believe it’s additionally necessary to acknowledge that they in all probability do defend us towards lots of imported instances. How way more will we wish to squeeze these guidelines? I believe that’s clearly an enormous resolution for our federal leaders.”
— With information from The Canadian Press, and International Information’ Saba Aziz and Twinkle Ghosh
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