Nunavut Burst its Travel Bubble with Northwest Territories

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The common travel area or “travel bubble” for persons moving from the Northwest Territories (N.W.T) to Nunavut has been lifted by Nunavut’s chief public health officer.

In a press release Monday afternoon, Dr. Michael Patterson said the decision is tied to the COVID-19 cases in Yellowknife.

“Following the new announcements on the COVID-19 situation in Yellowknife, beginning today, we will be closing our side of the Common Travel Area with the N.W.T.,” Patterson said.

The news comes as Nunavut struggles with its own rise of COVID-19 cases. There 85 active COVID-19 cases in Nunavut as of Monday, as per a post on Twitter by Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq.

There were 8 new cases and 3 recoveries in Iqaluit on Monday. Out of the active cases, 81 are in Iqaluit, two are in Kinngait, and another two in Rankin Inlet.

Anyone traveling to Nunavut from the N.W.T. is now subject to compulsory isolation at the designated isolation hub in Yellowknife for 14 days before returning to the territory, Patterson said.

“Exceptions to this isolation requirement include travelers with a same-ticket layover through Yellowknife, critical workers with an authorized travel letter, medical travelers, or those granted compassionate exemption.”

The move is also retroactive; Patterson said all travelers who left Yellowknife for Nunavut on or after Apr.28 must isolate as soon as possible for 14 days from the day they returned home.

All household members of a person who is isolating must also isolate. This constitutes households with an exempted critical worker or those with an individual who has recently moved from Iqaluit or the N.W.T.

Likewise, all non-essential travel continues to be highly discouraged.

Any person who thinks they have been exposed to the disease should call the COVID hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m and 6 p.m ET, or inform their community health center immediately, and isolated at home for 14 days. Persons are asked to not visit the health center in person.

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