COVID-19 'surprises' still coming: Canada won't follow UK by giving exact date for end of pandemic restrictions

Elisabetta Bianchini
·2 min read
RICHMOND CANADA, Feb. 22, 2021 -- A traveler with a face mask leaves the arrivals hall after having a COVID-19 test at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, on Feb. 22, 2021. Starting from Monday, travelers arriving in Canada by air are required to take a COVID-19 molecular test before they exit the airport. They are also required to quarantine for three days at a government-designated hotel at their own expense until they get a result. (Photo by Liang Sen/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Liang Sen via Getty Images)
RICHMOND CANADA, Feb. 22, 2021 -- A traveler with a face mask leaves the arrivals hall after having a COVID-19 test at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, on Feb. 22, 2021. Starting from Monday, travelers arriving in Canada by air are required to take a COVID-19 molecular test before they exit the airport. They are also required to quarantine for three days at a government-designated hotel at their own expense until they get a result. (Photo by Liang Sen/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Liang Sen via Getty Images)

While U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has released a plan that could see England put an end to COVID-19 restrictions by June 21, including any limits on social contacts lifted, Canadian officials are still cautious about putting out exact dates.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, identified that a resurgence of COVID-19 becomes less likely as more people are vaccinated.

"The key is to get the vaccination levels high so that we reduce the chances of those massive upswings in resurgence, in order to keep society going," Dr. Tam said.

Canada’s chief public health officer, did warn that with COVID-19 variants spreading, there is less room for any errors and everyone must do their part to prevent the spread of the virus. She added that it's important to ensure that Canada's healthcare capacity and the ability to contact trace is secure.

"What you want to do is go into the next fall and winter season with confidence that you don't have to do really strict lockdowns," Dr. Tam said, adding that she personally believes we will still have some measures in place to prevent COVID-19 spread during that time.

Canada’s chief public health officer said COVID-19 variants may lead to more "surprises" in the future.

"I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of what it might deal us in terms of surprises," Dr. Tam said. "We just need to be prepared for the realistic worst case scenarios."

Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer, stressed that this is a global pandemic and "no one is protected until everyone is protected."

"If we really want to return as much as possible to sort of the world as we knew it before COVID, we need to also have a global view in terms of what we can do to contribute to...global response rather than looking inwardly, in terms of what we’re doing here in Canada," Dr. Njoo said.

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