- Residents have been asked to take a series of precautions for 72 hours after returning from travel outside the N.W.T.
- The Northwest Territories government advises travelers to exercise extra caution this winter as COVID-19 variant cases spread across the country.
COVID-19 risk in the Northwest Territories has “shifted from community spread to the risk associated with COVID-19 importation from travel,” according to Dr. Kami Kandola, the territory’s chief public health officer.
ACCORDING TO HEALTH OFFICIALS, new COVID-19 infections have been linked to travelers returning from trips outside the N.W.T. Kandola is especially concerned about visitors bringing cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 into the territory.
“The severity of Omicron infections is unknown, but the sheer number of people infected can jeopardize the capacity of our healthcare system,” Kandola said. As a result, the government is advising residents who have traveled outside the territory to be “extremely diligent” in monitoring their health for signs of COVID-19, particularly in the first three days after their return.
Returning travelers are advised to avoid high-risk activities and large gatherings, limit contacts outside their household and wear a mask around others during those 72 hours.
This winter, some departing travelers will also have to deal with additional public health measures.
While the Canadian government has mandated vaccines for nearly all people of eligible age for domestic air and rail travel by Oct. 30, 2021, there are some “temporary accommodations” for unvaccinated people from remote communities.
Travelers who are not fully vaccinated and are leaving from a remote community are not required to take a COVID-19 test before leaving unless their community has that capacity.
Travelers arriving from remote communities in the N.W.T. will receive a free COVID-19 test kit after arriving at a “gateway airport,” such as Yellowknife Airport. If their tests negative, they will be allowed to continue their journey. However, anyone who tests positive will not be permitted to fly and coordinate with the local public health officials.
The Canadian government advises arriving at the airport “at least an hour early” to allow rapid tests. People traveling by air ambulance or medevac for medical reasons are exempt from vaccination and testing requirements.
Source: C.B.C. News
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