Despite more Canadians being vaccinated, coronavirus variants are fueling a surge unlike any seen at any point in the pandemic which has some experts calling on not just restrictions to international travel, but domestic travel as well.
Dr. Srinivas Murthy, an infectious diseases and critical care doctor in Vancouver and assistant professor of medicine at UBC, told CBC News said that the P1 variant is spreading exponentially in British Columbia which is now the centre of the largest outbreak of P1 outside of Brazil.
Murthy said that the federal government should limit domestic flights in Canada and limit travel to only the “absolutely essential” in order to limit its spread between provinces.
“I know our airline companies continue to travel across the country. That should be in question,” Murthy told CBC News.
B.C. Premier John Horgan has said his cabinet is considering restricting travel to and from the province to help combat the pandemic’s third wave.
When asked on CBC’s Daybreak South, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would support whatever decision the province makes, noting that he’s done the same for other provinces which have restricted travel during the pandemic such as the Atlantic Bubble and the northern territories.
“Every step of the way, I’ve been supporting premiers and territorial leaders on what they need to do to keep people safe,” said Trudeau.
While the Atlantic Bubble has drawn praise as a model for other provinces to study, it’s showing its own cracks as Nova Scotia has begun restricting the arrival of visitors from neighbouring New Brunswick.
The premier of the province which is recording the greatest number of daily COVID-19 cases, Ontario, hasn’t said anything about formally restricting inter-provincial travel, but is asking people to refrain from entering or leaving the province.
“We’re encouraging all residents of each province to stay at home, not to be flying into Ontario or flying out of Ontario,” said Premier Doug Ford Wednesday at a news conference with other Canadian premiers. He said that the situation in Ontario was “critical” and said now is not the time for travel between provinces.