Three-day lockdown to curb COVID-19 outbreak takes effect in Prince Edward Island

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CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island is now under a 72-hour, provincewide lockdown meant to stop two clusters of COVID-19 cases from spreading any further.

Provincial chief medical officer Dr. Heather Morrison says the clusters don't have a known source, and the three-day lockdown will allow public health officials to launch comprehensive contact tracing and ramp up testing.

As of midnight, schools and most non-essential businesses are closed until Thursday and Islanders must practice physical distancing with anyone outside their immediate household.

Exceptions are being made for people who live alone or require essential support.

The restrictions were announced on Sunday as health officials reported five new COVID-19 infections, for a total of 17 cases over five days.

They come on top of so-called "circuit breaker" measures announced the day before, which cut store and gym capacity in half while banning indoor dining and cancelling many sporting events.

Those measures are set to be in effect until March 14.

Morrison says the clusters, which are in Charlottetown and Summerside, appear to be connected.

Premier Dennis King says it's better to "go harder and stronger" with protective health measures now than to delay and risk the kind of outbreaks seen in other provinces.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press