Published: Sat, January 30, 2021
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Ford government plan to stop spread of COVID-19 variants

Ford government plan to stop spread of COVID-19 variants

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had announced a similar policy to test worldwide visitors earlier Friday, but Ford argued the province couldn't afford to wait the several weeks expected before the federal plan is implemented.

A six-point plan set out Friday by the government will ramp up capacity to detect variants more quickly, tweak isolation policies, and require mandatory on-arrival testing of all global travellers arriving at Pearson Airport by February 1, among other steps. "That's why I have advocated for these changes and enhanced federal quarantine enforcement, why the GTHA Mayors and Chairs supported stricter travel measures earlier this week, and why I have supported Premier Ford's calls for mandatory testing at our airports", he said.

He also added that new information on morbidity and mortality rates of the new variants, which were initially thought to be simply more transmissible than the initial strain, is starting to show that the variants may indeed be more fatal.

But, the province's health officials dimmed that hope on Friday in speaking about their new six-part action plan for tacking the virus and its new variant, which the government is taking extremely seriously. There have been five cases of the new variants caught at Pearson through voluntary testing of travellers.

Premier Doug Ford has announced a new plan aimed at limiting the spread of new COVID-19 variants, warning they threaten to derail what was described as tentative progress from weeks of heightened restrictions.

Any travellers refusing to be tested will be subject to a fine of at least $750. "Mandatory testing will act as a stop gap until the new federal measures are fully in place. We need to screen every single person coming into the country, and into Ontario". So far there are 51 confirmed cases of the UK COVID-19 variant in Ontario. This new measure will take effect as of February 3, 2021.

To strengthen case and contact management, the government is asking asymptomatic contacts of confirmed cases to get retested after day 10 of their quarantine.

A plan is also being developed to expand rapid testing in high priority settings, such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, essential workplaces, schools, and congregate living settings. This will enhance the province's capacity to identify known and emerging variants of COVID-19.

Ontario continues to monitor the developing situation with the Public Health Agency of Canada and other jurisdictions to ensure coordinated, effective and shared efforts to protect and safeguard the public.

One element of the plan involves maintaining public health measures, though the implications remained unclear.

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