New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said Nova Scotia is considering a proposal that could help resolve a dispute over their respective plans to reopen COVID-19 and ease growing tensions on both sides of the border.
Higgs had a telephone meeting with Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin and other Atlantic Premiers late Wednesday afternoon, as a road blockade near the main border crossing between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick continued.
Dozens of people began protests on the Trans-Canada Highway near Amherst Tuesday afternoon after Rankin announced that all New Brunswick travelers must continue to self-isolate upon arrival, even if they are fully vaccinated , while the people of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador will enjoy freer travel.
He cited New Brunswick’s decision last week to open its borders to all Canadians, with no isolation required for people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
At least two people were arrested Wednesday evening as the RCMP intervened to lift the blockade which had lasted for more than 19 hours, creating long waits for motorists, leaving truckers stranded with loads of goods and affecting some health services .
Higgs said he offered during Wednesday’s call to share with Nova Scotia the information the province collects from travelers entering New Brunswick from outside the Atlantic region, such as names, proof of vaccination and registration.
“We can give you the information and you can decide if [the travellers] need to isolate or you want to do additional testing or whatever, depending on your particular protocols, ”he said of the conversation in an interview on CBC Change.
In this way, Nova Scotia can decide how it wants to deal with people from the rest of Canada, while the Atlantic provinces can “carry on with the bubble”, with free movement between the four provinces.
“So it’s being considered right now with the public health officer and the Prime Minister.”
Since the start of the pandemic, New Brunswick has been the “guardrail” of Atlantic Canada, monitoring the Quebec border and New Brunswick airports, and that has not changed, Higgs said.
He noted that 62 vehicles were turned back on Tuesday because they did not meet New Brunswick’s requirements. “This includes vehicles destined for Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador that do not meet the requirements of those provinces.”
Part of the Nova Scotia assessment will include details, such as how New Brunswick information would be shared, how often and how the province would manage its border to meet its requirements, Higgs said.
“Prince Edward Island has been doing this from the very beginning and Newfoundland has been doing it for travelers entering their province, so it’s not something new in that sense,” he said. he adds.
In an interview with As it happensRankin confirmed that his province is reviewing Higgs’ proposal, but has not committed to any deadline to respond.
While the meeting did not end with a consensus among the four Atlantic Premiers on opening the borders, Rankin suggested that looser restrictions could arrive by Canada Day.
“I ask people at the border and others who want to get in and out of there, to wait another week,” he said.
On Tuesday, Rankin said travelers from other parts of Canada will be allowed to enter the province by June 30, provided they adhere to quarantine rules upon arrival.
Higgs believes the four Atlantic provinces will be ready to open to Canada around July 1.
“So we’re only talking about a week here.”
He is confident that they will overcome their differences, he said, and called for an end to the blockade at Exit 7 of Route 104 at Cobequid Pass.
While he understands everyone is “very tired of COVID,” he said he was “disappointed” and urged people to “keep the big goal in view.”
“Now is not the time to lose control, lose patience or disrupt our friends and neighbors.
“We are on the verge of going back to green,” the unrestricted COVID recovery level.
He has never been more confident in the way forward as New Brunswick and as an Atlantic region, he said.
New Brunswick’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, defended the province’s decision to open its borders to all Canadians.
During the COVID briefing, she reiterated that the plan to open the province was presented on May 27 and linked to vaccination rate targets.
“We took this step because it was what we said we would do when we undertook our path to green last month, “she said.
“We did not act in haste or without due regard for the safety of New Brunswickers.
The actions the province has taken have been “science-based and evidence-based,” said Russell. They are based on the reduced risk of COVID outbreaks due to declining cases in Canada, increasing vaccination rates in the province, and the health system’s ability to manage outbreaks when they do occur.
“Are we in a safe environment? Absolutely not. If we waited for the risk of COVID-19 to drop to zero, the restrictions would still be in place and would remain in place for the foreseeable future. “
No last minute changes by Newfoundland
Newfoundland and Labrador is not planning any last-minute changes to border restrictions for New Brunswickers, according to Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald.
When asked on Wednesday whether the province shares Nova Scotia’s concerns about New Brunswickers now that the province has opened up to the rest of Canada, Fitzgerald said Newfoundland and Labrador is still not seeing no need for isolation or testing requirements.
New Brunswick has good vaccination rates, its case count is low and its epidemiology is “quite favorable,” she said.
“So at the moment we don’t see the need to do that. You know, it’s a very similar situation to what we experienced last summer,” when the Atlantic provinces had an Atlantic bubble. , allowing residents to move freely between borders.
The province will continue to monitor the situation very closely, Fitzgerald said. If the number of cases in New Brunswick begins to increase, it may be necessary to “rethink things”.
“But, you know, for now, I think we can go on as we planned.”
1 new case, 43 active cases
New Brunswick announced a new case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the province’s total active cases to 43.
The person over 90 is in the Bathurst area, Zone 6, and is a contact of a previously confirmed case.
Five people are hospitalized in the province, including two in intensive care.
New Brunswick has recorded 2,320 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, with 2,231 recoveries to date and 45 COVID-related deaths. A total of 358,608 tests were performed, including 464 on Tuesday.
Vaccinations continue to increase
New Brunswick’s vaccination rate continues to rise after a record single day of people signing up to receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
A total of 21.5 percent of eligible New Brunswickers had received a second dose of the vaccine on Wednesday.
The province has set a goal that 75% of New Brunswickers aged 12 and over will be vaccinated with two doses by August 2, New Brunswick Day.
All New Brunswickers 12 years of age or older can make an appointment for a second dose of vaccine if at least 28 days have passed since their first dose.
The percentage of eligible New Brunswickers who received their first dose edged up for the first time since Monday, to 76.5 percent.
Atlantic COVID Report
New Scotland reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, and the number of active cases fell to 60.
Newfoundland and Labrador has no new cases and has 13 active cases.
Prince Edward Island has not reported any new cases since June 3 and has no active cases.
Latest public exhibitions
Public Health has identified potential new public exposures to the virus in the following regions:
Saint John area, Zone 2:
- Need for fast fuel, 100 Main Street, Sussex, June 13, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Fredericton area, Zone 3:
- Hall of the Church of the Holy Rosary, 26 Father Dysart Lane, Minto, June 15, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Pentecostal Gospel Lighthouse Church, 283 Slope Road, Minto, June 6-18.
Public Health offers COVID-19 tests to anyone who has been in a public exhibition area, even if they have no symptoms. Residents can request an online test or call Tele-Care 811.
People with one or more symptoms are also encouraged to get tested.
Past public exhibitions
Public Health has identified numerous potential public exposures to the coronavirus in many communities across the province, so many that it has stopped listing them individually in its daily press release.
A detailed list of potential exhibitions, including locations and dates, is available on the government’s COVID-19 website. It is updated regularly.
What to do if you have a symptom
People who fear they may have symptoms of COVID-19 may take an online self-assessment test.
According to Public Health, symptoms presented by people with COVID-19 include:
Fever over 38 C.
New cough or worsening chronic cough.
New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell.
Difficulty in breathing.
In children, symptoms also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.
People with any of these symptoms should: