The province got a court injunction on Friday to end a protest against its lockdown measures – which include keeping the border closed to non-essential travel and people trying to move around the province, as well as heavy fines for anyone caught traveling outside the area in which they live. “I will do whatever I have to do within the limits of the law and the public health emergency we have in place to keep Nova Scotians safe,” Rankin told CBC. The House in an interview aired on Saturday.
“I recognize that people really value their freedom, their freedom of speech. And I believe in all of these things. But you cannot deny individuals the freedom to live in a society where they are not afraid of contracting COVID. . ”
The injunction prevents a group called Freedom Nova Scotia from holding a protest rally scheduled for today. The court order also allows police to use reasonable force to arrest anyone who takes part in any of the protests.
Nova Scotia introduced tougher restrictions last week after a sudden and sharp rise in positive COVID-19 cases. This was a sea change in a province where the daily number of new reported cases had been in single digits for months.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association wrote to the Prime Minister this week to say that the closure of the border with the rest of the country violates mobility rights guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“The Charter requires that when governments restrict rights, they do so in a way that is least intrusive,” wrote association director Cara Faith Zwibel. “Under the current circumstances, self-isolation can be effectively paired with testing requirements to mitigate risk. Completely excluding Canadians from the province is neither necessary nor appropriate.
Travelers ignored quarantine: Rankin
Rankin is not backing down. He said it was clear some people were ignoring the mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors entering the province.
“So we took the next step and had to lock our border,” he said. The House. “We didn’t want to take this step and it disrupts the lives of people and families. We had to do this, however, during the first outbreak in the Halifax area.
As of Friday, the province had more than 1,530 active cases of COVID-19 and 21 patients in intensive care.
Nova Scotia has one of the lowest vaccination rates among the provinces; only about 30% of Nova Scotians received their first doses. That pace has accelerated in recent days and everyone in the province aged 35 and over is now eligible for vaccination.
A fact sheet released by the province on Friday shows the impact of the third wave. He said he was responsible for 58 percent of the total COVID-19 cases reported since March 1, 2020. The total number of COVID hospitalizations (both in ICU and non-ICU) is now 103 ; there were only 12 in the second wave last fall.
The race between the vaccination effort and the new variants is unfolding across the country. These variants include strain B117 first identified in the UK. It is now predominant in Nova Scotia and other provinces, most of which are still confined.
There is a glimmer of good news.
WATCH: Dr. Theresa Tam discusses Canada’s second summer pandemic
Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr Theresa Tam, said on Friday that increased vaccine stocks mean all Canadians who want to be vaccinated should be able to receive a first dose by June.
She added that anyone who has taken at least one dose can socialize outside with close friends and family during the summer.
It is a cautious approach. Its success or failure will depend on the ability of each region or community to contain the virus.
The situation in the four Atlantic provinces suggests that it will not be easy, although people continue to limit social contact outside their homes, wear masks and wash their hands thoroughly. .
The Atlantic bubble – which limited travel in the region to people living in the region – had reduced the number of cases. Rankin said the fact that Nova Scotia is now experiencing Wave Three is a sign everyone needs to stay alert.
It’s also why the restrictions he imposed – including closing the border to other Canadians – will likely remain in place after their original expiration date, at the end of May.
“We have to make sure that we are monitoring what is going on in other provinces,” he said. “And until we get this third wave under control, we won’t be looking at the situation at the border, I’m comfortable saying. Not for several weeks.
This is an important political decision in a province that calls itself Canada’s ocean playground and relies heavily on income from tourism.
“But public safety is number one,” Rankin said. “The best economic policy is a strong public health policy. “