Nunavut suspends common travel area with N.W.T.

‘Anyone travelling to Nunavut from the N.W.T. must isolate at the designated isolation hub in Yellowknife,’ Patterson says

A scene from the Yellowknife airport. On Monday, Nunavut announced the end of a policy which had exempted travellers between Nunavut and the Northwest Territories from isolating requirements. (File photo)

By Sarah Rogers

Nunavut has suspended its common travel area with the Northwest Territories following a recent outbreak of COVID-19 in Yellowknife.

Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, announced on Monday afternoon the end of the policy, which had exempted travellers from having to isolate when travelling from the N.W.T. to Nunavut.

The N.W.T. closed its side of the common travel area in November.

An outbreak of eight confirmed cases linked to an elementary school in Yellowknife prompted officials to shut down services and unnecessary travel to and from that city.

“Anyone travelling to Nunavut from the N.W.T. must isolate at the designated isolation hub in Yellowknife for 14 days before returning into the territory,” Patterson said in a news release.

“Exceptions to this isolation requirement include travellers with a same-ticket layover through Yellowknife, critical workers with an authorized travel letter, medical travellers, or those granted compassionate exemption.”

Anyone who travelled from Yellowknife to Nunavut on or after April 28 must isolate immediately for 14 days from the day they returned home, he said.

Patterson reiterated that the GN discourages any non-essential travel to and from the territory right now.

As of Monday, Nunavut had a total of 85 active cases of COVID-19; 81 of those are in Iqaluit, where city leaders declared a state of emergency Monday morning.

Anyone in Nunavut who believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 should call the territory’s hotline at 1-888-975-8601 or notify their local health centre right away.

This article has been updated to reflect the fact that the N.W.T. side of the common travel area has been closed since November.

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by Money grows on trees in the tundra on

    Do the math we have spend close to $100M on these isolation hubs and roughly half of that is non-essential travel. The GNWT has already stopped paying for the isolation of non-essential travellers, what is the GN waiting for? Another $100M loan from the feds?

    We need to keep Nunavut safe but we need our leaders to make better decisions regarding money. This endless supply of money could be going towards housing. $100M would have built how many new NHC housing units?

    • Posted by Conner Dear on

      The big brother picture…….Iqaluit has what over 80 cases, NWT hasn’t come forward to say we are suspending travel. Yellowknife, 8 from a school out break, Nunavut, “we are suspending travel”, Meanwhile in Frobisher Bay, Out break across the city(town) from a few bars….NWT..”okay, you can still travel to us if you want”.
      Sure these are time to look at some measures, but just seems weird for GN to just close the door, while they’ve had theirs open for as long as they have. right?

      • Posted by Misinformation on

        There is no travel to the NWT from Nunavut. There hasn’t been since November. There is no bubble. What there is are exemption requests: Each traveler from Nunavut wanting to travel to the NWT can request exemption; and, on a case-by-case basis, the office of the CPHO either allows or denies the request. For example, if someone is coming from a part of Nunavut with known Covid cases, the request will be denied. Do a little reading before you go about spreading misinformation.

        • Posted by Northern Inuit on

          There has been numerous people traveling to Yellowknife from the Kitikmeot Region for medical travel as well as holidays as Alberta and further south are not an option .

          You see people as recent as last month returning from Yellowknife without wearing masks at the store with not a care in the world .

          Worrisome to say the least

    • Posted by Home Isolation on

      The GNWT gave people the option to isolate from home since very early on. Because they gave the option, their decision to make people pay for isolation hubs was legal. The GN has never allowed this, so to be legal they were stuck forcing people who have a place to stay to instead isolate in a hotel and waste taxpayer dollars. They did this to avoid highlighting the discrepancy of those in poverty and those not. They did this as part of paternalistic policies because they believe most adults would break the rules, and they didn’t want to deal with enforcement and the inevitable criricisms of racial profiling since the majority of the population, and by extension the majority of violators of public health, would be Inuit. So instead they pay. They tried not pay early on, but after the announcement the Premier changed his mind. They probably figured out what they wanted to do was illegal and backtracked.
      So now they are going to pay for my isolation after a vacation south in the summer. I would isolate at home but this is their dimwitted policy.

  2. Posted by H M on

    Don’t you think that folks that have been twice immunized should be exempted too?

    • Posted by Nope… on

      Not even close. One that has the vaccine doesn’t make them immune to it or prevent them from being a host to the virus. All it does is reduce the risk of critical hospitalization events when having the virus.

      • Posted by Science still out on

        “‘Our data from the CDC today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick, and that it’s not just in the clinical trials but it’s also in real-world data,’ CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told Rachel Maddow on Monday, March 29. Walensky was describing the results of a new CDC study of vaccinated Americans, which found that they not only had very high resistance to COVID-19, but also to asymptomatic infections of the SARS-CoV-2 virus – and, by extension, are very unlikely to spread it to other people.”

        • Posted by Don’t let science distract you on

          I mean it’s only the CDC, what do they know compared to the d-list of public health ‘experts’ at Nunavut Department of Health?

      • Posted by Frank on

        The latest science according to the CDC just 24-hours ago, is that those who had both shots will NOT get seriously sick (think – bad cold), will NOT require hospitalization or ICU, and are NOT likely to pass the virus to others.

        My wife and I have had both shots. She’s scheduled for a medical appointment in Yellowknife at the end of the month but the local Health Centre says she will have to quarantine for 14-days in Yellowknife. Obviously, she has chosen not to attend the appointment.

        Does anyone really believe that people who go out for a one-hour appointment and then have to remain in a hotel room for 14-days will actually comply. What if they don’t comply, what will the government do? Fine you? Even if the courts threatened me with a fine I would not pay. The quarantine hotels amount to unlawful confinement. Police and courts across the country have already recognized that and are throwing out the charges.

        Does any of these money-burning, dangerous policies make any sense at all?

        • Posted by Frank on

          Further to my previous comment: The article indicates that Dr. Patterson says that medical travelers are exempt from the quarantine requirement. Our Health Centre says otherwise.
          Come on, GN – get your story straight. We’re all tired of the BS.

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