Arctic Canada: Nunavut imposes immediate COVID-19 restrictions

Iqaluit is under immediate restrictions starting at noon today. (Jane George/CBC)

Public health officials in Nunavut suspect community transmission in Iqaluit, after confirming a COVID-19 case in an Iqaluit resident who had not left the community in more than a month.

Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson announced immediate restrictions and limits to travel in and out of the city.

“Anyone who has travelled from Iqaluit to another community in Nunavut since December 15 should self-monitor and call the COVID hotline immediately if they develop any symptoms. We won’t know if this is the Omicron variant for at least seven to 10 days,” he said.

Patterson, along with Premier P.J. Akeeagok and Minister of Health John Main, will hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. ET on Nunavut’s response to COVID-19.

Effective at noon in Iqaluit:

  • All travel in and out of the community is restricted to essential purposes.
  • While Iqaluit residents can return to the city, anyone who is not triple vaccinated is advised to isolate for 14 days upon their return.
  • Outdoor gatherings are restricted to 25 people.
  • Indoor gatherings in dwellings are limited to five people, plus household members.
  • Indoor public gatherings, including conference spaces and community halls are limited to 25 people or 25 per cent capacity.
  • Libraries and galleries are limited to 25 people or 25 per cent capacity, and no group tours are allowed.
  • Gyms and fitness centres are limited to 25 people or 25 per cent capacity, whichever is less, for solo workouts only. The swimming pool is closed immediately.
  • Places of worship are limited to 50 people or 25 per cent capacity, with no singing allowed.
  • The theatre is closed.
  • Personal services, such as hairdressers and nail salons, are closed.
  • Arenas are limited to 25 people or 25 per cent capacity with 25 spectators. There cannot be any team sports.
  • Restaurants are restricted to take-out only. Bars are closed.
  • Group counselling sessions are limited to 10 people.
  • Physical distancing must be maintained in stores and public spaces.
  • Parks remain open but on-site buildings must close.
  • Schools can open under these restrictions when classes resume after the holiday break, with a combination of remote and in-school learning.

Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms, including a runny nose, cough or sore throat, should call the COVID hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET.

Do not go to the hospital or Iqaluit Public Health in person unless advised to or if it’s an emergency.

COVID-19 vaccines are available to all Nunavummiut aged five and older. Boosters are available for anyone 12 years and older. Boosters are available to those who have had their second dose six months ago.

Contact your health centre or local public health office to make an appointment. For all the latest information on COVID-19 in Nunavut, go to https://www.gov.nu.ca/.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Arctic Canada: new COVID-19 restrictions imposed in Nunavut hamlet, CBC News

Finland: COVID-19 surge casts shadow over tourism in Finnish Lapland, Yle News

Greenland: New strategy activated to manage COVID-19 outbreak in Upernavik, Greenland, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Iceland extends COVID-19 measures for at least two weeks, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Norway imposes partial pre-Christmas COVID lockdown, The Independent Barents Observer

SwedenCOVID-19: Sweden imposes new restrictions as infections rise, Radio Sweden

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