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Canadian officers eyed ‘excessive pandemic potential’ of COVID-19 travellers in Feb. 2020 – Nationwide

Canadian officers eyed ‘excessive pandemic potential’ of COVID-19 travellers in Feb. 2020 – Nationwide

Canadian public well being officers had been eyeing the “excessive pandemic potential” of contaminated travellers arriving in Canada from dozens of nations seeing outbreaks of COVID-19 within the weeks simply previous to the World Well being Group formally declaring a pandemic, based on newly launched paperwork.

World Information filed an entry to data request in spring 2020 requesting all information ready by the Public Well being Company of Canada relating to “worst case situations” and “pandemic planning” in the course of the one-month interval previous to the WHO’s formal declaration on March 11, 2020.

In response, the company launched 138 pages of information exhibiting that public well being officers believed there was a “excessive pandemic potential” posed by contaminated travellers arriving from international locations apart from China.

“Danger of importation must be assessed as a result of whereas air journey to China is now restricted, unfold to different international locations imply that these international locations at the moment are a supply of contaminated travellers coming to Canada,” officers from the Public Well being Company of Canada famous in a Feb. 27, 2020, memo.

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Specifically, officers mentioned the airports in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary had been the most probably arrival factors for travellers from “excessive pandemic potential” international locations into Canada.

But it wasn’t till March 16, 2020, that the federal authorities shut down the borders with a sweeping crackdown on overseas nationals from most different international locations coming to Canada.

READ MORE: Trudeau closes Canadian borders to most overseas travellers amid coronavirus outbreak

For practically two months at that time, well being officers had been insisting the danger to Canadians from the virus was “low.” That very same memo famous that “bigger Canadian cities may even see tons of to hundreds of reasonable to extreme circumstances, requiring supportive emergency preparedness.”

“There could also be 7,000-11,000 circumstances within the largest metropolitan areas in Canada, however there may be appreciable uncertainty round these estimates,” the memo famous.

“These figures are more likely to be a worst-case state of affairs.”

The assessments from the early days provide a stark distinction towards the present actuality: a pandemic poised to enter its third yr with a newly recognized variant, Omicron, surging all over the world.

In Toronto alone, there have been greater than 182,000 confirmed circumstances of COVID-19 because the pandemic started, whereas Canada as a complete has now seen greater than 1.8 million circumstances.

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The nation now stands on the opposite facet of a grim milestone, with 30,000 Canadians useless from the virus, and provinces hustling to roll out large numbers of COVID-19 booster vaccines in a frenzied bid to blunt the influence of the extremely contagious Omicron variant.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford described the trouble on Tuesday as a “wartime footing.”

Click to play video: 'Ontario distributing free take-home rapid COVID tests over holidays'

Ontario distributing free take-home fast COVID checks over holidays

Ontario distributing free take-home fast COVID checks over holidays

Among the many paperwork launched to World Information had been state of affairs planning that famous the potential for “societal disruption” to crucial infrastructure, provide chain points, and “widespread, mass civil unrest” if the virus started to unfold extensively in Canada.

Officers really helpful taking a look at the place Canada may be capable to ramp up home manufacturing of issues like private protecting tools and important assets — one thing the federal authorities continues to be engaged on, with current offers to supply issues like COVID-19 vaccines and medicine domestically.

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READ MORE: Omicron uncertainty clouding Canada’s inflation forecasts, fiscal replace says

Simply this week, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland mentioned in the course of the fall fiscal replace that the strain nonetheless weighing on international provide chains make predicting what the approaching yr will appear like a problem.

“Resurgent waves of the virus forestall a full restoration in hard-hit companies in sectors requiring shut contact, massive gatherings, or worldwide journey,” her fiscal replace said.

“The continuing pandemic additionally exacerbates the provision disruptions and labour shortages impacting a variety of industries, with acute challenges extending till 2023.”

It’s a far stretch from the assessments in early 2020 that “the epidemic in China seems to be declining,” however one in obvious preserving with the sample of curveballs being thrown by the virus.

Click to play video: 'The threat and severity level of Omicron'

The menace and severity stage of Omicron

The menace and severity stage of Omicron

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© 2021 World Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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