Premier says it’s not ‘fair’ to impose more COVID-19 restrictions in Saskatchewan

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan Premier Moe says it’s not ‘fair’ to impose more COVID-19 restrictions with high vaccination uptake' Saskatchewan Premier Moe says it’s not ‘fair’ to impose more COVID-19 restrictions with high vaccination uptake
During a “state of province” address on Monday, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe thanked business owners for their part in the fight against COVID-19 while placing the onus on the unvaccinated. Moe said it wouldn’t be “fair” to restrict activities and “take away ultimately their personal freedoms” on the large portion of the population that has “done the right thing” and received their vaccination – Oct 25, 2021

The official Opposition has taken aim at the state-of-the-province address given by the premier of Saskatchewan amidst the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scott Moe delivered the speech on Monday at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon.

“We should be hopeful in Saskatchewan, but we also need to be realistic and we need to understand what the challenges are before us and today that challenge is COVID-19 and … we’ve been hit hard by a fourth wave of this pandemic and there are pressures in our health-care system,” Moe said.

“The fact is a number of active COVID cases and the new cases have been falling over the course of the past number of weeks, and that is encouraging for us to see. But our case count in Saskatchewan still does remain high, and that is due to our vaccination rate not being high enough in this province.

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“When we do the daily case counts, 75 to 80 per cent of the new cases and hospitalizations are in those that are not vaccinated.”

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On Monday, the provincial government’s dashboard showed the total number of vaccines administered in Saskatchewan is 1,648,633. Of Monday’s 170 new cases, the provincial government said 126 people were unvaccinated, which included 44 ineligible children under the age of 12.

“Even though vaccinated residents make up the largest proportion of our society, we still have an inordinate number of people in our hospitals that have COVID that are not vaccinated,” Moe said.

“That large proportion of people that are vaccinated is why we have resisted calls from many to impose more widespread restrictions … because we don’t think it’s fair and we don’t think it’s right to impose those sweeping closures, those sweeping restrictions on all of the people when the vast majority of people in this province have went out and done the right thing and they have received their vaccine.

“With vaccines widely available in every community and every corner in this province, it doesn’t make sense to restrict everyone’s activities and take away ultimately their personal freedoms.”

Moe said current restrictions, including the proof-of-vaccination system implemented by businesses, are making a difference.

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“It’s making a significant difference. It’s causing more people to make that choice to go out and get vaccinated. Since we made that announcement in the middle of September, we’re up seven per cent in the province on our first and second doses,” Moe said.

“Eighty-five per cent of eligible residents now in this province have their first dose, 77 per cent have their second dose and are fully vaccinated, and that is driving down our case numbers in the province.

“What we are doing is working. It’s the reason that we have been able to avoid enacting or imposing more broad-based widespread restrictions in our communities because our trajectory is improving and it’s improving greatly.”

Read more: Sask. NDP, doctors say COVID-19 military aid could have come sooner, call for restrictions

Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili said Moe’s address was a slap in the face to the province’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, and health-care workers.

“Today’s bizarre address was a slap in the face to Dr. Shahab, to all the health workers who have given so much over the last year and a half,” Meili said in a statement.

“It’s a slap in the face to those families who lost someone to COVID-19 and those Saskatchewan people who are not able to access cancer care, surgeries and pediatric therapies and treatments.

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“Today, Scott Moe needed to announce limits on gatherings, more supports in our health-care system, and a new health minister to replace Paul Merriman.”

Meili said the address completely ignored the health crisis that Moe’s government has created.

“The state of our province today is that Saskatchewan has the highest active case rate and the lowest vaccination rate in the country,” read Meili’s statement.

“The state of our province today is that Saskatchewan ICU patients are being medevac’d to Ontario while the Canadian Forces are being flown in to provide care in our hospitals.

“The state of our province today is that more than 800 people have died from COVID-19 – including 117 people lost in October alone. … All of this is happening because Scott Moe is putting politics ahead of Saskatchewan people’s lives, and all of this was ignored in Scott Moe’s address today.”

The dashboard showed the province had 293 COVID-19 patients in hospital, 2,822 active cases and the death toll remained at 817 on Monday. Saskatchewan’s seven-day average of new daily infections is 259.

Click to play video: 'Ontario, B.C. lift pandemic capacity limits as Saskatchewan struggles' Ontario, B.C. lift pandemic capacity limits as Saskatchewan struggles
Ontario, B.C. lift pandemic capacity limits as Saskatchewan struggles – Oct 24, 2021

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