Conservatives want government to prevent spread of new COVID-19 variant

CONSERVATIVE Party Leader Erin O’Toole on Friday asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take steps to prevent the spread of a new COVID-19 variant.

(The World Health Organization has designated it a “variant of concern,” and assigned it the Greek letter Omicron. The variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on November 24 and has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other variants of concern, WHO said on Friday.)

O’Toole said: “With reports of the spread of a new COVID-19 variant, we have a small window of opportunity to act, and we must move now.”

He told Trudeau to secure Canada’s borders and immediately implement the following temporary measures:

  • Update the existing Government of Canada travel advisory for affected countries to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini, and put in place a ban on non-essential travel to and from these countries of concern;
  • Mandatory screening at all international airports from affected countries, regardless of vaccination status; and
  • Mandatory quarantining for travellers for those countries, regardless of vaccination status.

O’Toole said: “Lessons learned from earlier in the pandemic need to inform our actions today. Temporary measures to immediately secure our borders will keep Canadians safe and protect our economy.”