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Yukon enforcing border closure for all non-essential travel

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver said on Friday that territorial borders are closed to all except "those who have a specific sanctioned reason for being here."

Measure comes as chief medical officer announces 9th case of COVID-19

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver and chief medical officer Brendan Hanley give an update on COVID-19 in Yukon, Apr. 14, 2020. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

Yukon is tightening its border to control the spread of COVID-19 in the territory.

Premier Sandy Silver said on Friday that the border was closed to all non-essential or non-critical visits to the territory, and that the closure will be enforced.

"Despite our strong recommendations for people to stop all non-essential travel to the Yukon, we still see people coming up the highway to our territory," Silver said.

"As of today the only people who are permitted to enter the territory are those who have a specific sanctioned reason for being here."

The territory installed border checkpoints earlier this month, where travellers were given information about self-isolation requirements, and required to fill out a travel declaration form.

Enforcement officers at those territorial entry points now have the power to turn away any "non-essential" travellers, the premier said.

The only people allowed to enter Yukon now will be:

  • Yukon residents;
  • Family members of Yukon residents;
  • People who delivering a critical or essential service;
  • People travelling through Yukon to get home (with a 24-hour limitation); or
  • People exercising an aboriginal or treaty right (for the time needed to exercise the right).

Also on Friday, chief medical officer Dr. Brendan Hanley announced another case of COVID-19 in Yukon. It's the territory's ninth case, and like all others it is related to travel outside the territory.

Watch Friday's news conference here: 

The new case is in Whitehorse, he said. All but one of Yukon's cases have been in the capital, and none have required hospitalization. Seven of the nine affected people have recovered from the illness.

Hanley said all of the people affected by the illness in Yukon have been diligent in isolating themselves, and that's had a "dramatic" effect.

"It has literally helped to save us from [COVID-19] creeping out and spreading in the community," he said.

Hanley urged Yukoners to keep following public health orders and maintain physical distance as much as possible, to ensure things don't take a turn for the worse.

"We cannot declare Yukon a COVID-free zone. But our goal remains the same —  to delay, diminish, or even to deflect completely, community spread in Yukon," he said.

"We remain in a really good place, in this phase of containment, and I think we have a good chance of staying in this phase."

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