ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador says it's staying out of the Atlantic travel bubble for at least another month, requiring travellers who enter the province from the Maritimes to isolate for two weeks.
Premier Andrew Furey announced his government's decision Wednesday, as health officials reported no new COVID-19 infections in the province and nine actives cases.
The so-called Atlantic bubble, which allowed residents free travel within the region without the requirement to isolate, ended in late November following a rise in COVID-19 infections. Furey told reporters the end of the regional bubble was one of the factors preventing COVID-19 cases from rising in the province.
New Brunswick announced Tuesday it was experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 after reporting 27 cases in a single day, which was a record. On Wednesday, the province reported 31 new cases. Nova Scotia reported 12 new infections, bringing its total number of active cases to 29.
Furey said he's consulting with other premiers in the region but said for the time being, the risk of reopening borders without an isolation requirement is too high. "It's one of the guards that we collectively have in the province against the spread of COVID-19," he said.
The premier also said residents of long-term care homes will begin receiving vaccinations next week, adding that vaccinations will begin soon in Indigenous communities in Labrador. He said the Nunatsiavut government is planning to begin inoculations next week and the Innu Nation government will begin Jan. 18.
Health Minister Dr. John Haggie said the lag in vaccinating Indigenous communities has been the reason Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the country's lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates. About 2,400 doses are waiting to be used in Labrador's Indigenous communities, he said, because of holiday delays and the need to translate vaccination instructions into local languages and to provide training.
— By Michael Tutton in Halifax.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2021.
The Canadian Press