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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Wearing a mask is a ‘personal choice,’ as per COVID-19, which measures ease: PHAC

Wearing a mask is a 'personal choice' as COVID-19 assesses ease: PHAC

Key Takeaways:

  • As Canada’s deputy chief public health officer says, wearing a mask is a “personal choice,” and he will continue to do so as COVID-19 public health measures are eased.
  • Ontario’s mask mandates will be repealed by the end of March, and Quebec’s mask requirements will be relaxed beginning in April.

Mask-wearing is a “personal choice,” according to Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, who will continue to wear one as COVID-19 public health measures are eased.

Earlier this week, several provinces across the nation lifted their mask mandates, with more to follow suit soon.

During a press conference held by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on Friday, Dr. Howard Njoo stated, “Clearly, mask-wearing is a well-tested, tried, and true personal protective practice.” “Does it have to be mandatory?” No, it’s a personal decision based on one’s risk assessment.”

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He believes it is past time for Canadians to take personal responsibility and make their own risk management decisions, whether traveling or participating in activities.

Mandatory masking was abolished in Saskatchewan on February 28, and it was abolished in Alberta on March 1.

Mask mandates in Ontario will be repealed by the end of March, and mask requirements in Quebec will be relaxed beginning in April.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s top doctor, says it’s important not to stigmatize people who wear masks, whether they choose to or not.

“Consider who you’re with… “Perhaps they’re at a higher risk, so (consider) others,” Tam said at the same media briefing on Friday.

Wearing a mask is a 'personal choice' as COVID-19 assesses ease: PHAC
Wearing a mask is a ‘personal choice’ as COVID-19 assesses ease: PHAC Image from UPI.com

COVID-19 is still “circulating widely,” and the epidemiological situation varies across the country, she stated, but COVID-19 case counts are down 4.5 percent from last week.

“While some jurisdictions are reporting higher case counts right now, continued relaxation of public health measures might lead to increased transmission in more areas in the coming weeks,” Tam said.

Tam, like Njoo, prompted Canadians to remember their safety precautions, such as wearing a mask and staying at home when sick.

Tam said that if Omicron is the variant that circulates in the coming months, Canadians will have a “very good amount of community protection.” Still, officials may need to re-evaluate the threat to Canadians if another variant emerges. She also warned that as more people travel and more places open up to full capacity, COVID-19 cases are likely to rise in Canada.

With strong vaccine protection and fewer hospitalizations due to COVID-19, Tam believes “we need to shift our focus” to “easing societal disruption” caused by public health measures.

“This is a time for recovery as well as addressing the pandemic’s broader effects while preparing for future potentially severe waves,” she added.

Source: Global News

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