Halifax – Atlantic bubble burst.
Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island announced Monday that they will be away from the Atlantic bubble for at least two weeks.
Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island first opened the Atlantic Bubble on July 3rd. This bubble allowed the inhabitants of the four provinces to travel freely in the Atlantic.
However, COVID-19 cases are on the rise across Canada, and within the bubble – especially in parts of New Brunswick and in the Central Zone of Nova Scotia – PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador have decided to temporarily pull out of the bubble.
‘Kovid-19 is at our door’
PEI Premier Dennis King said Monday that all unwanted trips to and from the island will begin at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, for at least two weeks. At that point the situation will be re-evaluated by health officials.
“Like all the decisions we have made collectively, and with a good interest in keeping the islanders safe and healthy, this is not going to be easy for us,” King said. “Although we know it’s a tough move, I do not believe it’s a step backwards for me. I think it’s an active measure.
Chief Medical Health Officer Dr Heather Morrison said all non-island residents must apply for pre-travel approval before arriving at PEI and must have a 14-day self-isolation plan.
Individuals who come to PEI for required work will continue to be eligible for work-alone.
King said he found the decision to break away from the Atlantic bubble difficult for families, businesses and individuals, but needed help helping PEI maintain its low COVID-19 case levels.
“It’s a decision we have to make to keep ourselves healthy, to keep ourselves safe, and to keep this life we enjoy, which we have earned here on Prince Edward Island, which is the envy of other jurisdictions in the country,” said Premier.
Morrison said the PEI is likely to see new positive cases related to exposures and outbreaks taking place in other parts of the country.
“So in other words, I’m worried it might be in some already. We need to act fast, ”she said.
“I said before that COVID-19 knocked on our door, and in recent days, that knock has become louder and louder.”
‘Not an easy decision’
Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Fury announced that their province was implementing what it called a “circuit break”.
By 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, people arriving in Newfoundland and Labrador from within the Atlantic Bubble will need 14 days of self-isolation.
“It was not an easy decision, but as your Prime Minister, physician, and concerned father and citizen, I must do what I have promised – to safeguard the best interests of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador,” Fury said.
“Implementing this change for two weeks is an attempt to prevent a complete lockdown.”
Atlantic Premieres advises against non-essential travel
At this time, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have not announced any official changes regarding self-isolation or travel in the Atlantic region.
Currently, Atlantic Canadian residents can travel to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick without self-isolation in those provinces.
However, the Council of Atlantic Premiers issued a news release on Monday recommending caution against unnecessary travel in Atlantic Province.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is difficult for all Canadians and especially for our most vulnerable population. Premiers recognize that the second wave of COVID-19 is taking place in Canada and around the world. The Council of Atlantic Premiers said in a statement: “Some provinces may take additional action. The Premiers have agreed to review the action with the advice of the Atlantic Chief Medical Officers of Health.”
Morrison also addressed a news conference on Monday about unnecessary travel.
“As I noted last week, islanders should leave the PEI only if absolutely necessary, and only travel on the island for such work or medical appointments, for necessary purposes or for work,” she said.
“Now is not the time to travel in Atlantic Canada for unnecessary purposes such as shopping or for an unwanted visit with family or friends.”