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Coronavirus: Quebec, Ontario, PEI, introduces new measures in hopes of slowing the spread of Omicron

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has consulted with prime ministers about additional travel and border measures that could help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

In a call late Tuesday, first ministers discussed the COVID-19 variant of concern Omicron, which is rapidly spreading around the world.

In a readout of the call, the PMO said leaders were aware of the possibility that a rapid and dramatic outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Canada could put a strain on health care systems. .

The bulletin said Trudeau and the prime ministers agreed that the key to weathering the pandemic was to ensure that as many Canadians as possible, including children, were immunized and given booster shots.

There are no details on whether the government plans to change any travel restrictions, including those for 10 African countries that were put in place when the Omicron variant of the new coronavirus was discovered. show for the first time or not.

The highly contagious strain has been confirmed in more than 60 countries – including Canada – as well as 30 US states.

The bulletin said the prime minister realized that this new increase in cases would be particularly difficult for families and communities this time of year.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said on Tuesday the federal government is closely monitoring the variation.

House of Commons Leader Mark Holland announced that the Liberals will “dramatically reduce” the number of their MPs in the chamber and plan to hold fully virtual caucuses for the time being.

A New Democratic Party spokesman said the party’s weekly caucus on Wednesday would be virtual, however, officials from both the Quebecois Bloc and the Conservative Party said their caucuses would meet face-to-face. next.

New measures to slow the spread of Omicron were announced Tuesday in Quebec, Ontario and Prince Edward Island.

PEI’s director of public health, Dr Heather Morrison, said that starting Friday, people arriving on the Island will be required to isolate until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result. New restrictions on private indoor gatherings will go into effect, limiting the number of people to 20 people.

Ontario is ramping up COVID-19 testing in long-term care homes, as well as tightening restrictions on visitors and resident activities due to concerns about the Omicron variant.

Quebec is asking employers to prioritize working from home as the number of COVID-19 cases remains high and hospitalizations increase. The province is also looking to speed up booster shots, and make COVID-19 tests available to the entire population quickly.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson said on Tuesday the province was looking at making widely available rapid, perhaps free COVID-19 tests.

This Canadian Press report was first published on December 15, 2021.

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