Nunavik halts passenger flights following second confirmed case of COVID-19

“This decision was not taken lightly. We strongly believe it is the best way to reduce the risk of community transmission.”

Passenger flights will no longer fly to and from Nunavik, or between the region’s communities, as part of a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Elaine Anselmi)

By Elaine Anselmi

As of today, all flights in and out of Nunavik and between the region’s communities have been suspended as part of a region-wide lockdown.

This new measure was announced in an April 2 news release, which was jointly sent out by the Kativik Regional Government and Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services.

Nunavik had two confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, as of April 3, one in Salluit and a second in Puvirnituq.

“This decision was not taken lightly. We strongly believe it is the best way to reduce the risk of community transmission,” said Marie Rochette, director of public health.

“Collectively, we have to work together to protect elders and the more vulnerable members of all the communities.”

Under this lockdown, the only flights that will be allowed in the region are charters for cargo such as medical supplies and mail, as well as transportation for health-care workers, police officers and other essential service workers, according to the release.

Patients travelling for medical appointments will still be able to fly, but they will have to travel alone to Kuujjuaq, Puvirnituq and Montreal, unless they are a minor. Medical escorts will otherwise not be allowed.

These people will also have to self-isolate for 14 days after returning to their home community.

“The measure allows local emergency response teams to keep the current situation under control and give everyone time to prepare for any potential increase in active cases,” said Jean-Pierre Larose, director of public security.

This decision was made jointly by Rochette and Larose as part of the Nunavik Regional Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee.

According to the news release, the health centres in both Kuujjuaq and Puvirnituq now have more beds and the equipment necessary to manage the current and foreseeable needs of the future.

As well, each municipality has been tasked with creating an emergency response team to identify what the community will require in order to properly manage a potential spread of COVID-19.

Already, a curfew has been implemented across the region from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and residents are being told to avoid contact with those outside their households, maintain two metres’ distance from one another and stay at home as much as possible.

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by INUK on

    I keep reading about air lines in the north , say that people arn t allowed to travel anymore except medical reasons, SO IS THIS THE FINAL LAST CALL ?

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      It sounds extreme but let me assure you it is not. Just once case of Covid-19 at one of the regional hubs could spread the disease to every community overnight.
      Imagine for a moment elders getting sick with Covid-19, basically with fever in the 38C+ to 39C range which in itself can be life threatening. Add in the pneumonia which accompanies the fever and for which you likely need a ventilator.
      Now multiply that by 10, 20, 30 times for the number of elders in your community. People die. Lots of people.
      It is simply necessary to keep the virus out of Nunavik and Nunavut. Personally given the prevalence of the virus in southern hospitals, anyone sent out to the hospital from the region should stay down south until the virus decreases and is under control.
      There are plenty of empty hotels in Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton to house patients if necessary. Yes it would costs the government a lot of money but what price keeping the rest of the population from contracting the virus?

  2. Posted by Oh how nicely quiet on

    This virus is brutal. We don’t need it. But we need the quietness of our world back. It’s too bad People have to get sick and die. This world has been out of tune for a long time. The virus will tune it back , at a big cost. Hopefully people that have been abusive will be suppressed, and the good people will live well again. Inuit too take note of the way we lived, no good could become good if we get the lessons being within this crisis.

  3. Posted by Younger Trapper on

    Add to the bad side, many of these elders are smokers. So their lungs already cough out every day. All bad things are not because of this or that. Some are personal choice problems.

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      True that smoking is a personal choice, but it is also an addiction to nicotine, and the nicotine addiction is very hard to kick. Which just goes to show another aspect of the need for better public health programs.

      • Posted by The real trapper on

        I’ll have choices since the day that I was born. It’s all about the choices we make in life. If you were to stop this moment and ask yourself, what choice did I make yesterday, that makes me what, who, and where I am today? You will get a good picture of reality.

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