Travel ‘bubble’ in northern Canada between N.W.T. and Nunavut suspended until further notice

Dr. Kami Kandola, chief public health officer of Canada’s Northwest Territories (N.W.T.), has imposed a series of measures related to travellers from Nunavut to the N.W.T., and suspended the travel bubble between the two territories. (Kate Kyle/CBC)
N.W.T. chief public health officer lays out new rules for travellers from Nunavut

Beginning Tuesday at noon, people travelling from Nunavut to the Northwest Territories must follow the same self-isolation and travel protocols as anyone else travelling to the territory, according to a news release late Monday afternoon from the office of the N.W.T.’s chief public health officer.

“All travellers arriving in the Northwest Territories from Nunavut will now need to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in the Northwest Territories, unless otherwise exempted under the July 16, 2020 Travel Order,” the statement reads.

The change comes on the heels of 26 COVID-19 cases being reported in Nunavut since Nov. 6, including 14 over the weekend.

Last June, the two territorial governments created a travel bubble between the two territories.

Travelled from Arviat, Rankin, Sanikiluaq in last 14 days

People who have travelled to the N.W.T. from Arviat, Rankin Inlet or Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, within the last 14 days must immediately self-isolate for two weeks from the date of their arrival in the N.W.T., the news release said.

They must also contact Yellowknife Public Health at 867-767-9120, and submit a self-isolation plan by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, either online or by contacting Protect NWT at 8-1-1 or 1-833-378-8297.

People in N.W.T. who have shared accommodations with people who have come from Arviat, Rankin Inlet and Sanikiluaq within the last 14 days must also self-isolate and submit a self-isolation plan to Protect NWT by Tuesday at 4 p.m., the release said.

Travelled from Nunavut within last 14 days

Those who have travelled from elsewhere in Nunavut to the N.W.T. in the last 14 days must self-monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms for two weeks, contact Protect NWT and wear non-medical masks in all public places, the news release said.

The statement also said anyone who has shared or is sharing accommodations with someone travelling from Nunavut and develops symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate immediately, contact their local health authority to be tested for COVID-19 and stay in isolation until advised otherwise by a health-care professional.

Safe space to isolate

Travellers from Nunavut who don’t have a safe space to isolate should contact Protect NWT, which will find one for them in Yellowknife, according to the news release.

“The [government of the Northwest Territories] will provide spaces for Nunavut residents at no upfront charge in isolation centres in the territory until such time that Nunavut is able to re-establish [its] own isolation centre in Yellowknife,” reads the statement, adding that payment for Nunavut residents will be covered by the Nunavut government.

Exceptions

The statement said those who are coming to the N.W.T. from Nunavut “to live, work, study, or under compassionate or family reunification exemptions, which have been approved by the Chief Public Health Officer where necessary, may travel within the Northwest Territories.”

Exempted worker requirements for supply chain workers, essential workers, airline crews and employees, remote camp workers working at N.W.T. mines, and non-remote camp workers working on N.W.T. projects remain in place.

“Continue to follow all guidance from your employer,” reads the statement.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: 9 new cases of COVID-19 found in Arctic Canadian hamlet with signs of community spread, CBC News

Greenland: Greenland adds new incentive to promote domestic tourism as international travel craters, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: New COVID-19 restrictions for Iceland’s schools and universities, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Sweden’s northernmost county among regions to introduce stricter COVID-19 recommendations, Radio Sweden

United States: After early containment success, there’s now rapid COVID-19 spread in rural Alaska, including the Arctic, Alaska Public Media

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