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Atlantic bubble bursts as P.E.I., N.L. exit coronavirus pact

Click to play video 'N.L., P.E.I. pull out of Atlantic bubble amid rising COVID-19 cases' N.L., P.E.I. pull out of Atlantic bubble amid rising COVID-19 cases
WATCH: Atlantic Canada's bubble allowed free travel between the four provinces, thanks to initially low COVID-19 cases in the region. But as concern rise over infections now slowly rise in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward are pulling out of that bubble - for now. Mike Armstrong reports – Nov 23, 2020

The provincial governments of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador announced Monday morning that they are taking a break from the Atlantic bubble as COVID-19 cases rise in the region.

The two regions backed out after Nova Scotia and New Brunswick saw an increase in cases, reporting 44 and 77 active COVID-19 cases, respectively, as of Sunday.

Read more: N.B. asks travellers from Halifax to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms

N.L. Premier Andrew Furey said the Atlantic bubble has been a source of pride for the region, but the situation has changed.

Click to play video 'Atlantic bubble bursts as P.E.I., N.L. step back from border deal' Atlantic bubble bursts as P.E.I., N.L. step back from border deal
Atlantic bubble bursts as P.E.I., N.L. step back from border deal – Nov 23, 2020

“I have made the tough decision to implement a circuit break,” Furey said.

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“As your premier, as a physician and as a concerned father and citizen, I must do what I promised: protect the best interest of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

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As of Wednesday, all travellers from the Atlantic bubble to N.L. will have to self-isolate for 14 days. Non-essential travel will not be permitted.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Newfoundland and Labrador implements ‘circuit break’ from Atlantic bubble, suspends all non-essential travel' Coronavirus: Newfoundland and Labrador implements ‘circuit break’ from Atlantic bubble, suspends all non-essential travel
Coronavirus: Newfoundland and Labrador implements ‘circuit break’ from Atlantic bubble, suspends all non-essential travel – Nov 23, 2020

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King announced the province has made the same decision after talking to other Atlantic premiers over the weekend.

As of Monday, the province is temporarily suspending all non-essential travel to and from P.E.I. for at least two weeks, King said.

King said he doesn’t think this is a step backward.

“I feel it is a proactive measure, a preventative step,” he said.

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He said the decision is in the best interest of those in P.E.I., Canada’s smallest province.

“We have a health system that is strong, that is ready,” but King said the system has limitations. A COVID-19 outbreak may put pressure on the system, which could easily become overwhelmed.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: PEI suspends all non-essential travel, pulls out of Atlantic bubble travel' Coronavirus: PEI suspends all non-essential travel, pulls out of Atlantic bubble travel
Coronavirus: PEI suspends all non-essential travel, pulls out of Atlantic bubble travel – Nov 23, 2020

Read more: 8 new coronavirus cases reported in N.S., largest single-day increase since May

For the next two weeks, King said he will be monitoring the situation and then decide if this break needs to be extended.

In a Monday morning statement, the Nova Scotia government said the Atlantic premiers have discussed “the need for extra caution on non-essential travel in the region.”

“Some provinces may take additional measures,” the statement read.

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The Atlantic bubble began in July, and this is the first time that a member has backed out.

More to come.

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