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Border closure the right decision, MLAs say

2602rylundcity41.jpg Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo Rylund Johnson, Yellowknife North MLA proposed an idea to city council to allow permanent residents - which would include recent newcomers to Yellowknife - the ability to vote in in municipal elections.

Two MLAs in Yellowknife support the chief health officer's decision to close the NWT's borders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The territory's first positive case of the virus - in Yellowknife - was announced on Saturday morning.

"I support the decision of the chief public health officer and believe that we as Northerners need to do everything we can to be diligent and protect one another during these unprecedented times," Caitlin Cleveland, MLA for Kam Lake told NNSL Media.

Caitlin Cleveland, right, MLA for Kam Lake supports the border closure decision. NNSL file photo

"Although we have not experienced this before, the North is incredible at building one another up during times of need. This is no different, we need to support one another now more than ever, only this time it is from afar," she added.

The closure was announced on Friday night and could be effective as early as today, once all the necessary measures are in place.

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Public health officer to prohibit travel into NWT

Rylund Johnson, MLA for Yellowknife North also backs the closure, calling it a "proactive step."

"The goal here is to not overwhelm the healthcare system, I believe closing the borders will assist us in that," he said.

"More importantly the order requiring anyone to self isolate if they have left the territory in the last 14 days must be emphasized. That is hundreds of people who have not been self isolating and now by law must do so.

"Additionally requiring anyone now returning to self-isolate in larger centres and not travel into our smaller communities is exactly the proactive step that needs to be taken. We will see hundreds of people put up in hotels and provided per diems at great expense to the government. Yet at this point we must do all we can, no matter the cost, to get ahead of this.

"There is no room for people not to take this seriously or to ignore the orders of our Chief Public Health Officer. "

Some details of the border closure have yet to be ironed out and Kandola is scheduled to provide more information Saturday afternoon.