More than 100 medical experts are urging the Canadian government to take immediate action in preventing the spread of COVID-19 variants, with 76% in favour of restricting international travel and more than 90% in favour of enhanced testing for those returning.
“Variants of concern represent a clear and present danger to Canada's health security and economic well-being" says a new report, entitled Shielding Canadians from Variants of Concern, and signed by more than 100 epidemiologists, virologists, doctors, scientists and health care professionals.
"Existing travel and border protocols have not prevented the importation of COVID mutations into Canada. Delays in significantly reducing this risk could be ruinous."
Several jurisdictions, such as Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea, are successfully blocking COVID Variants at the border, the report says.
As such, Canadian health experts are urgently recommending the following:
- Restrict international travel to essential travel only.
- Test all travellers immediately on arrival, after five days, and a third time at 10 days.
- Enhance quarantine measures and strongly consider mandatory quarantine in designated hotels for all incoming travellers.
- Vaccinate, as a joint U.S.-Canadian responsibility, the 200-300 thousand truckers and 25-50 thousand essential workers that make up the majority of US-Canada land-border crossings.
The report was published by the COVID Strategic Choices Group, whose recent report, Building a Canadian Shield, laid-out key domestic actions to protect Canadians from COVID.
"The Canadian Shield starts at the border" said COVID Strategic Choices Group cofounder Robert Greenhill. "If porous border controls allow dangerous COVID mutations to enter Canada, it could undo all the hard work and sacrifices of millions of Canadians. It could be like a whole new pandemic."
Several Canadians are in favour of banning travel, as recent research shows.
A survey conducted by Leger for the Association for Canadian Studies and COVID Strategic Choices Group points to a broad consensus calling for government to halt all non-essential travel and implement stricter testing for those returning to the country.
76% of Canadians surveyed support stopping direct travel to Canada unless it is for humanitarian reasons; 93% support administering a COVID test immediately upon arrival and 91% support administering a 2nd test 5 days later.
"There is a strong consensus amongst Canadians against travel outside of Canada and on strict testing for those returning,” said Jack Jedwab, President of the Association of Canadian Studies.
To see the full report, read the Association of Canadian Studies Report.
To learn more about the #CanadianShield strategy, background research and bios on the various experts behind this initiative, go to covidstrategicchoices.ca.
For further info about the set of recommendations put forward by Canadian health experts and public sentiment towards these recommendations, go to Recommendations by Canadian health experts.
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