With the holidays approaching, the new variant of Omicron that is rapidly spreading across the planet is creating a lot of uncertainty for those hoping to finally enjoy Christmas with their families living abroad.
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“I understand the health standards, but it’s been four years since I’ve seen my family. It’s starting to be a very, very long time. There are people who are in poor health. I may not see them anymore,” Longueuil resident Delphine Vanhal said on Sunday. .
Of Belgian descent, the 39-year-old who lives in Quebec with her husband hopes she can go back to her country of origin to hug those she used to see “a maximum of every two years”.
His planned summer 2020 trip has since been postponed. She lost her grandmother a few months later.
“If it wasn’t for the family, I wouldn’t have traveled. It’s very worrying,” the woman sighs on the phone.
Since Friday, several countries have announced tightening of health rules due to the new variant of COVID-19, which is more contagious and possibly more resistant, first reported in South Africa.
Canada also confirmed its first cases on Sunday in Ottawa, travelers from Nigeria.
Ottawa on Friday suspended entry to Canada for travelers from at least seven African countries until January 31.
‘helpless and desperate’
This announcement creates a lot of uncertainty among those who expected to finally find them for the holiday season.
South African Francois de Villiers, 36, has seen his plans crumble as the border between Canada and South Africa is closed.
He spent several thousand dollars to bring his parents to Quebec, which he had not seen in three years, once the visa allowed.
“I find it crazy that the government can ring its fingers and ban entire countries from travel. People should be fully vaccinated and their travel tested negative. It makes no sense and we just feel helpless and hopeless,” he explains.
– With AFP
►G7 health ministers, including Jean-Yves Duclos, will meet urgently in London on Monday to discuss the new alternative from Omicron.
No panic, more vigilance, according to experts
Even if the new Omicron variant is discovered Sunday in Ottawa, experts here believe we must remain vigil without closing the borders.
“If we postpone the proceedings, perhaps that will allow us to postpone the date a little bit when that alternative is circulated freely in the county. […]. “I understand we have a meaningful holiday, but it’s still unexpected,” says Roxanne Borges da Silva, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Montreal.
Sunday, Morocco in particular, closed its borders completely for two weeks.
“For the delta variant, no matter what we wanted, it came in,” Benoit Barbeau, a virologist and professor in UQAM’s Department of Biological Sciences explained on Sunday.
People pass through other countries. To be able to succeed [à isoler le Canada]It would be necessary to be in complete self-sufficiency,” Mrs. Borges da Silva raised.
South Africa’s president on Sunday denounced a “discriminatory” border closure that could discourage countries from reporting the discovery of future variants, for fear of being punished in turn.
Thus, by staying vigil and continuing to wear the mask properly we can control the spread of the variant, the two experts believe.
It just reminds us that the epidemic is not over yet. Variants, there will be others, concluded Mr. Barbeau.
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