Makivik implements screening measures at Montreal airport
General travel between Nunavik communities no longer permitted
Makivik Corp. has a new plan to keep COVID-19 out of Nunavik.
As of March 21, the Nunavik birthright organization has implemented a screening process for passengers flying into the region aboard Air Inuit and Canadian North flights.
“We have developed this procedure in collaboration with the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services. We know there are residents of Nunavik who were outside of the country, and are returning to the region,” said Charlie Watt, Makivik’s president, in a March 22 news release.
“We want to take this extra step to prevent the coronavirus from entering the Nunavik region, and we thank everyone for their cooperation. We will continue to monitor the procedure and introduce a stricter protocol if necessary.”
Makivik has already asked that outsiders avoid visiting Nunavik unless it’s absolutely necessary, to curb the threat of bringing the coronavirus to the region.
For the new screening measure, passengers bound for Nunavik who are flying out of Trudeau International Airport in Dorval will be met by a Makivik representative, a nurse from the health board and an Inuktitut interpreter at the check-in counter.
There, passengers will be asked: have you travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days? Have you been in contact with anyone known to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days? And have you had any symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath, in the past 24 hours?
If a passenger answers ‘yes’ to either of the first two questions, they’ll be refused check-in. If they answer ‘yes’ to the third question, they’ll be refused check-in and only allowed to travel to Nunavik once symptoms have cleared up.
The Makivik representative will assist passengers who are refused travel in getting boarding at a nearby hotel for the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. For Inuit beneficiaries, this boarding, as well as a stipend for meals, will be covered by Makivik.
The news release notes that at a later date, Makivik will seek reimbursement for these fees from the federal and provincial governments.
As well, travel between Nunavik communities is now restricted, according to a March 24 joint news release by the Kativik Regional Government and Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services.
Air travel between communities will be limited to passengers flying home and essential workers, such as police officers, health-care workers and maintenance technicians.
These passengers will be screened for the virus before boarding.
If they’ve travelled abroad in the past 14 days, been in contact with a person with COVID-19 or have symptoms of a cold or flu, they will not be allowed to fly.
These travel restrictions were advised by Jean-Pierre Larose, the Kativik Regional Police Force chief and director of civil security, and Marie Rochette, Nunavik’s director of public health, through the newly formed Nunavik Regional Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee, organized by the Kativik Regional Government.
Exceptions will be made for medical travel and medevacs. The release said that medevac personnel are trained to take certain precautions during the pandemic.
Cargo shipments will also be allowed.
“The new measures restrict movement of people in Nunavik but was deemed necessary to protect Nunavimmiut from the virus,” the news release stated.