No new COVID-19 cases: Nunavut moves to lift remaining lockdowns in two communities

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IQALUIT, Nunavut — After two weeks with no new cases of COVID-19, Nunavut says it will lift lockdowns in the last two communities that were still facing strict public health measures.

But Dr. Michael Patterson, chief public health officer, says it will take until the end of January to officially declare over outbreaks in Arviat and Whale Cove.

Arviat, a community of about 2,800 on the western shore of Hudson Bay, was at the centre of Nunavut's outbreak late last year with 222 of the territory's 266 total cases.

Patterson says that starting Tuesday, travel restrictions to and from the two communities will be lifted, although non-essential travel is still not recommended.

He also says government offices, businesses and schools can reopen, and gatherings with no more than 10 people indoors and 50 outdoors will be allowed.

Nunavut reported its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 6, but numbers grew quickly and the government ordered a two-week territorywide lockdown that was lifted in most communities Dec. 2.

Public vaccination clinics that received the Moderna vaccine are being held in Igloolik, Gjoa Haven, Arviat and Cambridge Bay this week.

The territory started vaccinating its elders last week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press