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New Brunswick economic recovery plan coming soon as province moves toward ‘new normal’

New Brunswick officials will provide an update on the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday following four straight days of no new cases.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said an economic recovery plan is “coming very, very soon” as the province announced no new cases of the novel coronavirus for the fifth day in a row.

The plan is being prepared by the all-party cabinet committee on COVID-19. Higgs said it’s not quite ready yet, but should be released in the next few days.

“We haven’t just nailed down all the specifics in relation to ensuring that it’s comprehensive, people understand it, we’re able to answer questions where they need to be,” Higgs said.

“I want to be able to put something together that gives more answers than questions.”

READ MORE: New Brunswick goes fourth day without announcing a new case of COVID-19

The plan will put forth timelines for how and when things can reopen as well as what people will be able to do as the province moves into what Higgs calls “the new normal.”

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Childcare needs are also expected to be addressed in the plan.

Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick premier says plan for restarting economy will be released in coming days
Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick premier says plan for restarting economy will be released in coming days

But Higgs said that businesses will need to be prepared to reinvent the way they do things.

This could include businesses allowing employees to continue working from home, or offering curbside pickup.

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A policy implemented by the New Brunswick College of Pharmacists will also be overridden by the government.

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Pharmacists were limiting all prescription refills to 30 days, but those with prescriptions normally lasting for 60 or 90 days found themselves paying up to three times as much in copay.

Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick overriding 30-day prescription drug limit
Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick overriding 30-day prescription drug limit

The policy was put in place to prevent drug shortages, but Higgs says that problem has not materialized.

“We realize this is a difficult decision, but in light of the unprecedented circumstances we are in, we strongly believe this is the right one,” said Higgs.

“We are taking this action to ensure that our vulnerable population is not put in a position where they have to choose among paying for their medication, buying groceries, or paying their rent.”

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In order to address the possibility of drug shortages, a working committee will be put in place to examine which ones could see supply impacted.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick provides iPads for nursing homes
Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick provides iPads for nursing homes

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.