About 100 experts are urging the federal government to act immediately to protect Canadians from imports of dangerous variants of COVID-19.
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“Worrisome variants pose a clear and current danger to the health security and economic well-being of Canada,” says report Protecting Canadians from Importing Disturbing Variants, a document signed by more than 100 epidemiologists, virologists, doctors, scientific researchers and healthcare professionals.
Currently, Canadians overwhelmingly support the top recommendations, including 76% in favor of restricting international travel and over 90% in favor of strengthening screening for those returning from travel.
According to the group, current travel and border protocols have not prevented the importation of these new variants into Canada. Any delay in significantly reducing the risk of importation could be devastating.
Canadian health experts recommend the following immediate actions:
- Limit international travel to essential travel only.
- Screen all travelers immediately upon arrival, then after 5 days and a third screening at 10 days.
- Tighten quarantine measures and seriously consider mandatory quarantine of all incoming travelers at designated hotels.
- Vaccinate, as a joint Canada / United States responsibility, the 200,000 to 300,000 truckers and the 25,000 to 50,000 essential workers who perform the majority of cross-border land crossings between the two countries.
The report was produced by the COVID Strategic Choices Group.
“If insufficient border controls allow dangerous mutations of COVID to enter Canada, we risk putting all the hard work and sacrifices of millions of Canadians at risk.” It could look like a whole new pandemic, ”said co-founder Robert Greenhill, also a professor at McGill University.
A poll conducted by Léger, on behalf of the Association for Canadian Studies and the Strategic Choices Group, indicates a broad consensus in favor of an interruption of non-essential travel and strict measures for those who return.