Nunavut bursts its travel bubble with N.W.T.

·2 min read
Nunavut's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson. On Monday, he said the travel bubble between Nunavut and N.W.T. is suspended. (Jackie McKay/CBC News - image credit)
Nunavut's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson. On Monday, he said the travel bubble between Nunavut and N.W.T. is suspended. (Jackie McKay/CBC News - image credit)

The so-called common travel area or "travel bubble" for people travelling from the Northwest Territories to Nunavut has been suspended by Nunavut's chief public health officer.

In a news release Monday afternoon, Dr. Michael Patterson said the decision is tied to the COVID-19 cases in Yellowknife.

"Following the new announcements on the COVID-19 situation in Yellowknife, beginning today, we will be closing our side of the Common Travel Area with the N.W.T.," Patterson said.

The announcement comes as Nunavut grapples with its own rise in cases. There are 85 active COVID-19 cases in Nunavut as of Monday, according to a post to Twitter by Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq.

There were eight new cases and three recoveries in Iqaluit on Monday. Out of the active cases, 81 are in Iqaluit, two are in Kinngait and two are in Rankin Inlet.

Anyone travelling to Nunavut from the N.W.T. must now isolate at the designated isolation hub in Yellowknife for 14 days before returning to the territory, Patterson said.

"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."

The move is retroactive too — Patterson said all travellers who left Yellowknife for Nunavut on or after April 28 must isolate immediately for 14 days from the day they returned home.

All household members of a person who is isolating must also isolate. This includes households with an exempted critical worker or those with someone who has recently travelled from Iqaluit or the N.W.T.

As well, all non-essential travel continues to be highly discouraged.

Anyone who thinks they have been exposed to COVID-19 should call the COVID hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, or notify their community health centre right away, and immediately isolate at home for 14 days. People are asked to not go to the health centre in person.