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International travellers to N.W.T. should self-isolate, says chief public health officer

N.W.T.'s chief public health officer is strongly advising that travellers arriving in the territory from any international destination self-isolate for 14 days, in the territory’s latest recommendation to combat the spread of COVID-19.

'We feel for the public it's their civic duty to comply with the advice'

Dr. Kami Kandola, the chief public health officer of the N.W.T., strongly recommends travellers coming into the territory from any international location self-isolate. (Kate Kyle/CBC)

The Northwest Territories' chief public health officer is strongly advising travellers arriving in the territory from any international destination to self-isolate for 14 days, in the territory's latest recommendation to combat the spread of COVID-19.

"In concert with the latest advice from the federal government, we are strongly advising all travellers who have arrived or are arriving from international destinations to now self-isolate for 14 days," Dr. Kami Kandola said during a press teleconference on Sunday.

On Friday, the federal government asked that all travellers arriving in Canada from international points consider self-isolating for 14 days as a precaution.

Keeping communities safe

As of Sunday evening there were no reported cases of COVID-19 in the N.W.T. Nonetheless, Kandola said it is essential the territory take strong and proactive action to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"We all have a role to play in keeping our communities healthy and safe. Following this advice is an important way residents can protect their families, their friends, and our communities."

Kandola also recommended any international visitors already within the territory — who have no symptoms and are still within 14 days of their arrival to the country — self-isolate for the remainder of their 14 day period, or return home as soon as possible.

'Civic duty'

Right now, these remain recommendations and not orders.

"We feel for the public it's their civic duty to comply with the advice, but it is advice and recommendations."

This is part of a broader set of travel restriction recommendations to help stop the spread of the virus in the territory. On Saturday evening, Kandola recommended N.W.T. residents "avoid all non-essential travel outside of the Northwest Territories."

As of right now, she said travel between communities in the territory is fine, but it is a situation they are monitoring closely.

"Our small communities are very vulnerable, as such we've been cancelling a lot of mass gatherings especially in small communities that involve other people coming to those small communities."

Kandola said they are proactively compiling lists of different events happening in communities across the territory. She said the department has also established an email address for advice on any "mass gathering," not just public ones: covid@gov.nt.ca

Kandola said the public will be immediately informed if there is a case of COVID-19 in the territory, and the Health and Social Services website will continue to be updated regularly.

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