EDMONTON — Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro, accused of not doing enough to stop a COVID-19 surge swamping hospitals, says the government wants to see the effect of recent health restrictions before adding any new ones.
A week ago, Shandro reintroduced a provincewide mask mandate, along with curfews on alcohol sales in bars and restaurants, to stem a steep rise in COVID that has overrun intensive care wards and forced hospitals to reassign staff to care for the critically ill.
Due to staff displacement, up to 60 per cent of non-urgent surgeries have been cancelled across the province, including all such procedures this week in the Calgary zone.
Physicians with the advocacy group Protect our Province say the current measures won’t turn the tide, that vaccine passports are needed, and that Shandro’s lack of action is not just bad policy, it is negligence.
The Opposition NDP is also calling for vaccine passports, and says Premier Jason Kenney is refusing to bring in meaningful health restrictions because he fears a revolt from the anti-restriction wing of his United Conservative caucus.
Shandro says the government continues to weigh the pros and cons of the passports, which are being adopted in many provinces and would mandate vaccination for anyone wanting to go into bars, restaurants and access other non-essential services.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 10, 2021.
The Canadian Press