(Toronto) The number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario seems to be rising again and business transactions are calling for a vaccine passport system to prevent another lockdown.
Ontario has reported increased positivity rates over the past four days and more than 300 new COVID-19 cases, with levels not seen since mid-June, more than 400 on Sunday.
Premier Doug Ford has rejected calls from medical, political and business associations to set up a vaccine passport system for unnecessary activities, saying he does not want a “divided society”.
But while he affirmed that he “does not support arrests,” he did not rule out imposing another.
Ryan Mallog, of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, said his association would support the vaccine passport system if its lockdown was prevented, but the government should be very clear on the responsibilities of employers and employees.
Either way, Ontario businesses need to look at the plan in light of the increase in cases and what the limits are for a lockdown, Mallog said. Previously, the increase in cases meant the imposition of sanitary measures, but now he wonders what it means that the province has relatively good immunization coverage.
“Everyone sees these numbers as confusing,” he said. We have been conditioned to do this for the last 17 months, but what do the growing numbers mean now? ”
Rocco Rossi, president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, said the vaccine passport system was a way to prevent another lockdown and accelerate economic recovery.
He criticized the Prime Minister for refusing to introduce a vaccine passport out of concern for personal rights and for allowing another lockdown possibility to be thwarted.
“If you agree that society has a right to restrict individual rights by using restraint, we should look for less practical means for both evils and we can all agree that individual rights in society are at greater risk- scale restraint, none of us want to restore.”
A request for comment from the Prime Minister’s Office on the vaccine passport prompted a response from a spokesman for Health Minister Christine Elliott.
“We have made it clear that the government will not make vaccinations mandatory in Ontario,” wrote Alexandra Hilken. Some facilities and / or businesses may require proof of vaccination, so everyone will receive their COVID-19 vaccine confirmation after their first and second dose. ”
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Toronto Chamber of Commerce also spoke in favor of the vaccine passport as a way to prevent lockdowns. Health associations such as the Ontario Medical Association and the Ontario Registered Nurses Association have also called for its use.
The Provincial Science Table Advisory Group says the vaccine passport will help reopen high-risk facilities with greater efficiency and plan for future waves of the virus. However, he also noted that there was no evidence linking the effectiveness of the vaccine passport to vaccine coverage or virus transmission.
Quebec will introduce the vaccine passport system on Thursday, with the health minister saying 11,519 people had made appointments for the first dose that day, more than double the number of days before.
Peter Graff, a professor of political science at McMaster University, said he did not expect Premier Ford to change its mind if many other provinces did not implement similar systems.
“His problem is that there are very few people who are really skeptical about vaccines or who really oppose the idea of a vaccine passport,” he said.
“But it’s still an important part of his base. He’s looking to win 35% of the electorate, maybe 10 or 15%. [qui)] Those who have strong opinions on the matter, and I do not think he feels that he is in danger of losing his support. ”
Ontario reported 325 new COVID-19 cases Monday after more than 15,800 tests.
Of the 113 ICU patients with severe illness, COVID-19 and 70 individuals were linked to ventilators.
Ontario Public Health says that from the end of June to the end of last month, people who were not vaccinated were eight times more likely to be infected with Kovid-19 than people who were not fully vaccinated.