Coronavirus: A closer look at Alberta’s relaunch strategy

Could Alberta use smartphone apps to track patients, enforce quarantine?
Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta will use technology to keep tabs on people who must quarantine themselves. Kenney adds the plan will not violate civil liberties. Fletcher Kent has more.

Albertans are expected to learn more details Wednesday afternoon about what Premier Jason Kenney calls the province’s relaunch strategy.

The plan focuses on gradually boosting the economy while preventing a second wave of COVID-19.

During a televised address Tuesday, Kenney stressed the strategy can’t come into effect until social distancing rules are relaxed. Current models suggest that won’t be until the end of May.

READ MORE: ‘Probable’ Alberta COVID-19 model predicts 400-3,100 deaths: Kenney

Kenney said the strategy takes information from countries like Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea, which have had more success than other nations in terms of economic activity and viral spread.

Here are some preliminary details about the strategy:

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Mass testing

Kenney said testing is the foundation of the strategy, and the plan is for Alberta to conduct as many as 20,000 COVID-19 tests a day. New tests will be used to identify positive cases and those with immunity in a more timely fashion.

Alberta announces more aggressive COVID-19 testing measures
Alberta announces more aggressive COVID-19 testing measures

Close contacts

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Kenney said Alberta will have more precise tracing of close contacts of those who are infected.

Border screening

Kenney said he feels Canada waited too long to close its borders, especially to countries with high levels of infection. He said Alberta will deploy a “much more rigorous approach than the federal government has in screening and quarantining international arrivals.”

Kenney says stronger border controls needed to restart economy faster
Kenney says stronger border controls needed to restart economy faster

Watching closely

The premier said Alberta will use technology to help enforce quarantine orders. He says that could include using smartphone apps when appropriate.

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Kenney said Alberta plans to “encourage and facilitate the use of masks in crowded public spaces, like mass transit.”

READ MORE: Should you wear a face mask? Coronavirus prompts debate over effectiveness