- Nunavut is tightening COVID-19 public health restrictions in Iqaluit, including limiting travel in and out of the capital city to only essential purposes.
- On Thursday, the territory announced that the city’s swimming pool, theatre, and hair and nail salons would be forced to close.
Restaurants only serve take-out food. Indoor gatherings in homes are restricted to a maximum of five people plus household members. Outdoor meetings are limited to 25 people.
Indoor public gatherings in community spaces such as libraries, gyms, and arenas are limited to 25 people or 25% capacity. Churches are also limited to 50 people, or 25% of their ability, with no singing.
According to the territory, the changes were made after a case of COVID-19 was confirmed Wednesday in a person who had not endowed Iqaluit in more than a month.
“This leads us to think there may be community transmission in Iqaluit,” the territory’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, said in a news release.
He added that it would take 7 to 10 days to determine whether the rapidly spreading COVID-19 Omicron variant is the case.
“As a result, we are immediately tightening restrictions and restricting travel into and out of the city.” Anyone who has traveled from Iqaluit to another Nunavut community since December 15 should self-monitor and contact the COVID hotline right away if they develop any symptoms.”
Earlier this week, the government reported two cases in Pangnirtung, the hamlet of about 1,500 people. It was unknown whether they were the Omicron variant. There were three active cases of COVID-19 in the territory as of Thursday.
The territory restricted travel into and out of Pangnirtung to only essential purposes and imposed gathering limits. Premier P.J. Akeeagok urged people to be cautious over the holidays as Omicron cases increased.