In a COVID-19 briefing, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Heather Morrison said at least four of the most recent positive COVID-19 travel-related samples have been confirmed to be variant B.1.1. 7, first identified in the UK.
“We know the variants are more transmissible,” Morrison said, adding that it is now clear that additional measures are needed to reduce the importation of the virus.
“I recommend that Islanders limit interprovincial travel unless it is for essential purposes.”
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Effective immediately and at least until May 17, Prince Edward Island is suspending non-resident travel to the province from outside of Atlantic Canada.
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The measures include seasonal residents who plan to come to Prince Edward Island within the next four weeks, who will be advised to postpone their trip to at least May 17.
“The flow of family connections for seasonal residents is also interrupted,” Morrison said.
Those planning a permanent relocation to the island over the next four weeks for school or work purposes will need proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure within 72 hours of arriving on the Island. -of Prince Edward Island.
“After arriving in our province, these people will have to self-isolate for 14 days,” she said, adding that they will be tested again three times during quarantine.
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Negative pre-departure testing will also be required for workers entering Prince Edward Island from outside Atlantic Canada. They will also have to agree to be tested before entering their workplace and be retested every other day while in the province for the first 14 days.
Compassionate travel will be approved on a case-by-case basis.
“There is no change in the requirements for residents of Atlantic Canada to travel to Prince Edward Island for work or study,” said Morrison.
“Travel to and from Prince Edward Island for non-essential purposes is not recommended.”
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Premier Dennis King said in the briefing that after the difficult news over the weekend of Prince Edward Island’s second hospitalization for COVID-19, the safety of residents is the top priority.
“While we are doing very well in this province, we are not totally isolated from the COVID-19 virus or its variants,” King said.
He said that while the province already has some of the toughest border measures in the country, it is necessary to tighten them up a bit more.
“In doing so, we hope to limit the importation of the virus into our province.”
He said Prince Edward Island needs to quickly tackle the “worrying trend” seen across Canada.