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Will these new travel restrictions work? Doctor answers our COVID-19 questions

Click to play video: 'Will travel restrictions curb the spread of COVID-19 variants? Doctor answers our coronavirus questions' Will travel restrictions curb the spread of COVID-19 variants? Doctor answers our coronavirus questions
WATCH: Infectious diseases physician Dr. Isaac Bogoch joins The Morning Show to answer your latest COVID-19 questions about new vaccines, airport testing and reduced restrictions in some provinces. – Feb 1, 2021

Last week, the Government of Canada announced new travel restrictions in the hope of limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Mandatory airport testing will be implemented in Calgary, Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto — with Toronto’s testing now underway. These four cities will be the only locations in Canada funnelling international flights.

Infectious disease specialist Isaac Bogoch recently joined The Morning Show to answer all your questions on current restrictions and the vaccine rollout.

Read more: Canada’s new travel restrictions a ‘nail in the coffin’ for airlines, tourism: experts

He says even though travel accounts for less than two per cent of Canada’s COVID-19 cases, any measures taken to decrease cases should be seen as a good thing.

“We certainly don’t want to import more of these (COVID-19) variants because they’re going to be hard enough to control as they are.”

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Over the weekend, Novavax submitted a COVID-19 vaccine to Health Canada for approval.

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Bogoch says the Novavax vaccine is safe and effective, having an efficacy of about 90 per cent.

Read more: Novavax submits coronavirus vaccine to Health Canada for approval

However, he adds, the vaccine trial in South Africa resulted in lower efficacy.

“It was around 50 to 60 per cent in that population,” he says, emphasizing that it still provides a significant amount of protection.

People who do get the infection are likely to have a less severe illness, he adds.

Read more: When can we expect the coronavirus vaccine? Doctor answers COVID-19 questions

With COVID-19 cases trending downwards in Canada, some provinces are beginning to ease up on their restrictions.

In cities like Toronto, however, public health officials are advising the lockdown remain in place until June.

Bogoch says the variation in regional measures makes sense since coordinating the entire country would be challenging, but provinces choosing to reopen should do so carefully.

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“The rules have changed,” he says, adding we need to be vigilant about new COVID-19 variants entering Canada.

Read more: ‘Better velcro’: Why does the U.K. coronavirus variant spread more easily?

Bogoch says the variants can be kept under control, but provinces still need to make sure they’ve taken the necessary steps to reduce transmission.

For people considering gathering to watch the Super Bowl this weekend, Bogoch strongly advises against it.

“This is not the time to get together in indoor settings with our friends,” he says, adding we should adhere to public health measures so we can be safe and keep COVID-19 case numbers down.

For more information about COVID-19 restrictions and the vaccine rollout, watch the full video above. 

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