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Canada advises against international travel amid threat from Omicron

FILE PHOTO: Passengers arriving from the United States walk in Toronto Pearson Airport
FILE PHOTO: A U.S. passenger walks in Toronto Pearson Airport Terminal 3, days before testing for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) entering the United States goes into effect, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada December 3, 2021. REUTERS / Chris Helgren

December 15, 2021

By Anna Mehler Paperny and Steve Scherer

TORONTO (Reuters) – Anada’s government on Wednesday urged people not to leave the country as provinces ramp up vaccinations to combat the fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus Omicron, even as efforts to contain the wave COVID-19 is complicated by public fatigue because of the pandemic.

The number of COVID-19 cases is growing https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canada-could-soon-see-rapid-surge-covid-19-case-omicron-spreads-locally-2021-12 -13 as Canadian hospitals struggle to handle backlogs after months of delayed procedures. Many exhausted employees appear ill-equipped for another round of infections.

“I say very clearly: Now is not the time to travel,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told a news conference, adding that there is clearly transmission of Omicrons in the community. copper in Canada.

Duclos said the government is sending millions more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and rapid tests to 10 provinces.

Ontario is expanding eligibility for a third shot to everyone over the age of 18, and shortening the required gap between the second and third doses to three months.

“As we fight the spread of the highly contagious variant of Omicron, nothing is more important than putting these boosters in everyone’s arms,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Wednesday. .

Canada’s most populous province also announced a 50% capacity limit for indoor events with a capacity of at least 1,000 people, including sports, concerts, and commercial television and film productions.

Canada already has a travel ban on 10 African countries because of concerns about the new variant. Canada advised people in March 2020 not to travel abroad unless absolutely necessary. But they withdrew the notice this past October – before the first Omicron cases were reported – citing the success of vaccination campaigns.

Peter Juni, director of Ontario’s COVID-19 science advice desk, urges everyone to take precautions, get vaccinated and not take Omicron lightly.

“What really worries me is that people are falling asleep at the wheel, internationally,” he said. “They fantasized that it would be gentle. … This is not a realistic attitude. ”

Scientists suspect Omicron is more contagious due to its rapid spread, although they warn that it is too early to draw conclusions about its severity.

‘Passive Rationale’

Andrew Morris, an infectious disease doctor in Toronto, said there was a “huge hole” in Canada’s healthcare system, who added that “there’s a good chance they’ll be overwhelmed”.

The intensive care unit Dr. Christie Lee oversees at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto has secured some breathing rooms following the recent COVID-19 outbreak, trying to give staff time off and possibly training paramedics. New critical care dozen.

“We have been asked to prepare, potentially, for rapidly increasing cases,” Lee said.

In Alberta, a western Canadian province that just experienced its punitive fourth wave, Dr Christopher Doig’s ICU in Calgary still has COVID-19 patients, some of whom have been there for weeks. Doig said it is still operating at about 110% capacity.

Changing employees from other areas allows them to “step up” if needed, says Doig. “The flip side of those increases is that it pulls in staff from other areas,” and the pandemic has a growing backlog of surgeries.

Health officials are trying to convince the public to get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Provinces including Manitoba have extended enhanced eligibility to everyone 18 years of age or older. Some other provinces have rolled out the program more slowly, primarily targeting people who are older or more medically vulnerable.

Amid concerns about asymptomatic COVID-19 transmission, provinces that have been given millions of rapid antigen tests by the federal government have been criticized for not distributing them more widely.

Ontario has promised to deliver 2 million tests in “high-traffic” areas and allocate five tests per student to school children this week. Quebec will hand out five tests to each person starting next week. Alberta promised to hand out 500,000 starting Friday.

British Columbia health officials said this week they were not getting the tests they expected from the federal government and defended the province that provides tens of thousands of rapid tests each week to hundreds of employers. private.

Alberta eased restrictions on private gatherings on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Jason Kenney citing pandemic fatigue.

Ontario said this week it is “temporarily disrupting” return-to-office plans for provincial employees

Juni said he understands that people are tired of the pandemic.

“I was completely exhausted,” he said. “I’ve got it. I’m done. But the virus doesn’t care”.

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny and Steve Scherer; Additional reporting by Nia Williams, Allison Lampert, Ismail Shakil and Allison Martell; Editing by Paul Simao and Peter Cooney)

https://www.oann.com/canada-tries-to-tackle-omicron-amid-pandemic-fatigue/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=canada-tries-to-tackle-omicron-amid-pandemic-fatigue Canada advises against international travel amid threat from Omicron

JACLYN DIAZ

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