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P.E.I. joins Newfoundland and Labrador in setting isolation period for visitors

Click to play video: 'Holiday travellers in Halifax discuss COVID-19 travel warning' Holiday travellers in Halifax discuss COVID-19 travel warning
The federal government is advising Canadians to not leave the country for non-essential travel amid the spread of the Omicron variant. Amber Fryday was at the Halifax airport talking to people about travelling over the holidays. – Dec 16, 2021

Prince Edward Island has joined Newfoundland and Labrador in announcing isolation requirements for all visitors in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

Premier Dennis King told a news conference Tuesday that beginning on Wednesday at 8 a.m., anyone arriving on the Island from out of province will have to isolate for four days.

Read more: Atlantic premiers urge caution over holiday season to slow the spread of COVID-19

King said every traveller entering the province will be given two rapid tests and will be required to complete them on the second and fourth days of their isolation. The premier said all bars and restaurants in the province will have to stop serving customers at 11 p.m. each night.

“To get back to some kind of normal in our province, we need to do this,” he said. “We need to limit travel, we need to limit our personal interactions. This isn’t the time for parties, for gatherings or staff celebrations.”

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The province reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the total number of active infections to 112. Dr. Heather Morrison, chief public health officer, said four of the new cases involve people who are not permanent residents of P.E.I., adding that all are in isolation.

In the last seven days the province has identified 115 new cases of novel coronavirus, more than one-fifth of the total cases since the pandemic began. Those include 18 cases of the Omicron variant, Morrison said. She said a large number of people are now self-isolating as a result of being close contacts of confirmed cases, including 125 students from three Island schools.

She said modelling in other jurisdictions indicates Omicron will “very quickly” overtake Delta as the dominant variant.

“We really need to assume that our cases here in P.E.I. and any new cases are the Omicron variant,” Morrison said. “We are in the early days of managing this variant. We can expect to see further rapid increases in cases over the next one to two months.”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Still unclear if vaccines need tweaking to address Omicron variant, EMA says' COVID-19: Still unclear if vaccines need tweaking to address Omicron variant, EMA says
COVID-19: Still unclear if vaccines need tweaking to address Omicron variant, EMA says – Dec 21, 2021

Elsewhere in the Atlantic region, people visiting Newfoundland and Labrador will have to self-isolate for five days as of 3 p.m.

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Tuesday. Under the travel regime announced Sunday, travellers will also be required to take a COVID-19 rapid test on each of those five days, and family members are permitted to isolate with them.

The measures come as Atlantic Canada’s four premiers are urging the public to exercise caution during the holiday season to slow the spread of COVID-19. The appeal was issued in a statement following a teleconference meeting Monday hosted by New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs.

The premiers stressed the importance of following public health guidance in order to reduce the threat of hospitals in the region becoming overwhelmed by seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2021.

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