Form now available for travellers to Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada
People arriving from outside the Atlantic bubble must still self-isolate for 14 days
The self-declaration form travellers from outside Atlantic Canada must fill out before entering Nova Scotia is now available on the government's website.
Premier Stephen McNeil announced the requirement Monday in response to what he said were concerns the government was hearing about people travelling to Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic provinces without self-isolating.
Four new cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I. have been tied to a man on a student visa who flew to Toronto from the United States and then flew to Halifax. He did not self-isolate for the required 14 days upon entering Nova Scotia. He was then turned away from the P.E.I. border because he hadn't filled out the necessary paperwork for entry required by the province.
On Tuesday, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King called for better communication between officials with the Canada Border Services Agency and the provinces.
Nova Scotia's form requires the names of the people in a travel party, information about where they live, where they're arriving from, how long they'll be in the province, details about where they will be self-isolating and a phone number where they can be reached 24 hours a day.
McNeil said on Monday that public health would use 811 to help contact people each day to check to see if they're self-isolating. If three calls go unanswered, police will be dispatched to do an in-person check.
The form makes the self-isolation requirements clear and also notes that violating the rules can lead to a fine of up to $1,000. Anyone arriving at one of Nova Scotia's borders without having completed the form will be given a paper copy to complete before being granted entry.
No new COVID-19 cases
On Tuesday, the province announced no new cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia.
The QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab completed 291 Nova Scotia tests on Monday.
There are four known active cases of the coronavirus in Nova Scotia.
There have been 1,065 positive COVID-19 cases and 63 deaths. Two people who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 are still being treated in hospital, but their cases are considered resolved.
Provincial borders not closed
McNeil confirmed again on Monday that the province's borders have never been closed and that officials would not be turning away anyone.
"What we have said and continue to say that if you're coming in for less than two weeks from outside of the Atlantic bubble, it doesn't make a lot of sense to come into Nova Scotia because you're going to be quarantined, you're going to be self-isolating for those 14 days."
When the Atlantic bubble launched on Friday, Nova Scotia opted for a more relaxed approach to screening visitors.
Although New Brunswick and P.E.I. required some form of self-declaration and were collecting information, people staffing the Nova Scotia border were simply providing information about self-isolation requirements and counting licence plates from outside Atlantic Canada.
On Monday, McNeil noted the screening process P.E.I. and New Brunswick are using had been in place before the Atlantic bubble started. He did not say why Nova Scotia's screening wasn't adjusted to fall more in line with its neighbours in time for last Friday.
Opposition leaders not impressed
The government's latest changes show a lack of clear messaging and leadership, according to provincial opposition leaders.
Tory Leader Tim Houston said the premier had plenty of lead time heading into the launch of the Atlantic bubble to ensure the border was prepared for the anticipated influx of people and how to track those from outside Atlantic Canada.
"There was just no evidence of any kind of plan and I think that's what's happened through the whole way here," he said.
Houston noted that many people have raised concerns about potential problems related to people coming here from America, in particular, and yet it seemed like the province wasn't sufficiently prepared to address those concerns.
"The whole time that the premier was telling us to stay home, that he would do the rest, he wasn't doing the rest, and there's a lot of anxiety now," Houston said.
NDP Leader Gary Burrill said "every once in a while" he and Houston agree on something. The lack of clear, coherent policy from the Liberals when it comes to the Atlantic bubble is an example, he said.
Burrill said it makes no sense why Nova Scotia wasn't collecting names and contact information right away when the bubble launched, the way its neighbours have been.
"For three days after to announce, 'Oh, a change of plans,' … that's the kind of incoherence and unclarity that shakes public confidence in the basics of what we need to do in order to be effective in this struggle against the virus," he said.
"That's the problem."
People with one or more of the following COVID-19 symptoms are asked to visit 811's website:
- Fever (chills, sweats).
- Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
- Sore throat.
- Shortness of breath.
- Muscle aches.
- Nasal congestion/runny nose.
- Hoarse voice.
- Unusual fatigue.
- Loss of sense of smell or taste.
- Red, purple or bluish lesions on the feet, toes or fingers that do not have a clear cause.
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With files from CBC Mainstreet