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Nova Scotia re-instates isolation for N.B. travelers, graduations get the green light

Click to play video: 'Atlantic bubble ‘looking unlikely’ as Nova Scotia tightens border rules' Atlantic bubble ‘looking unlikely’ as Nova Scotia tightens border rules
WATCH: As New Brunswick is now presuming all COVID-19 cases to be variants, Nova Scotia has made the decision to close its borders to our neighbouring province. This comes just days before the planned opening of the Atlantic bubble -- which is now expected to be delayed until at least May. Alicia Draus reports. – Apr 13, 2021

Nova Scotia is strengthening its border once again with New Brunswick.

But within the province, work is underway to let high school students celebrate graduation this spring.

In a COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Premier Iain Rankin said Nova Scotia is seeing an increased number of cases in the last few days, most of which have been related to travel.

He says Nova Scotia’s testing capacity has allowed public health to detect cases early, but he said “we can’t control what is happening across our borders.”

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia re-instates self isolation requirement for crossing border with New Brunswick' Nova Scotia re-instates self isolation requirement for crossing border with New Brunswick
Nova Scotia re-instates self isolation requirement for crossing border with New Brunswick – Apr 13, 2021

In New Brunswick, parts of Zone 4 (Edmundston region) are under a lockdown as they face an outbreak of COVID-19. Many of the cases were found to be the B.1.1.7. variant of COVID-19, first identified in the U.K.

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“In an abundance of caution… we are re-instating the requirement for New Brunswickers to self-isolate when they cross the border into Nova Scotia,” said Rankin.

Read more: COVID-19: Epidemiologist warns against reopening Atlantic travel bubble

The border restrictions take effect at 8 a.m. on April 15.

Nova Scotians travelling back into the province will also have to self-isolate for 14 days.

“This is tough, I know, but it is necessary,” said Rankin.

The four Atlantic provinces had agreed to re-open the Atlantic bubble by April 19, but that is now changing.

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“This is looking unlikely right now,” Rankin said around midday Tuesday, a prelude of what was to come.

On Tuesday evening, the The Council of Atlantic Premiers officially announced the Atlantic Bubble would be delayed by at least two weeks, to May 3.

The Atlantic bubble was introduced last summer as a way for residents of the region to travel between the four provinces without having to isolate for two weeks.

Nova Scotia reported six new cases of COVID-19, of which five are related to international travel. Another case was related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.

Rankin said there are 45 active cases as of Tuesday.

Graduations to happen this year

According to Rankin, public health has given a green light for graduations to happen in-person this year.

“Families will be able to gather in small groups and schools to recognize student achievement and success,” Rankin said.

He added there will be guidelines to ensure public health rules are being followed.

“Accommodating (this) will mean that schools need to end a week early this year,” said Rankin.

He said schools will focus on arranging graduation ceremonies, so they will not be organizing proms.

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But, Rankin said parent groups are able to organize prom as long as they follow public health guidelines, including gathering limits.

Read more: ‘AstraZeneca isn’t enough’: Pharmacies plead with provinces for access to other COVID-19 vaccines

Vaccine plan ‘on track’

As of Monday night, the province has administered a 157,590 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Rankin says it is shaping up to be a record week for Nova Scotia in administering the vaccine. The province is expected to get more than 50,000 doses into people’s arms.

There are 114 locations administering the vaccine this week, including in the Preston region at New Beginnings Ministry. Around 300 people have appointments scheduled, he said.

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