Individuals from the Northwest Territories (NWT) will now be able to enter Nunavut without isolating as long as they adhere to three conditions, announced chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson during a June 15 press conference.
Travel must originate from Nunavut or NWT.
Secondly, travellers must not have been outside their respective territory for two weeks prior to their travel to Nunavut or NWT. For example, if a NWT resident has travelled outside of NWT less than two weeks before their scheduled arrival in Nunavut, they will have to complete NWT’s requirements for self-isolation.
Finally, travellers must remain in either Nunavut or NWT for the duration of their stay.
Patterson said although there is “a little bit of concern” every time measures are eased, “it’s a reasonable time” to be creating the travel bubble. He explained the medical standard for declaring an outbreak to be over is two full incubation periods. It has already been close to three incubation periods since NWT’s last Covid-19 case, said the doctor.
“I don’t think they’re at any greater risk of transmitting Covid-19 than someone from Iqaluit or Rankin Inlet,” said Patterson, referring to anyone who has been in NWT for at least two weeks.
The travel bubble has been formed now since there is no evidence of Covid-19 within either territory.
On June 12, the Government of the Northwest Territories announced that Nunavummiut could enter NWT without undergoing a 14-day isolation period.
“It’s safe to travel back and forth between Northwest Territories and Nunavut, as long as people don’t go outside of that area. So there’s no medical reason to restrict travel between the two territories at this point,” he said.
Approval letter needed for travel
Individuals, including Nunavummiut, who wish to travel from the NWT to Nunavut must write to CPHOtravelrequests@gov.nu.ca. Travellers are required to complete and sign the Nunavut and NWT travellers declaration form.
Failure to complete the form will affect entry into Nunavut, said Patterson, adding “failure to answer truthfully will be subject to fines.”
Once the form is approved, the traveller will receive an approval letter from the chief health public officer’s department. This approval letter must be presented prior to boarding any airplane entering Nunavut.
“Airlines are not allowed to let anybody on the plane without a letter of authorization from my office,” Patterson added.
“I want to reassure Nunavummiut that should the current situation change in either territory, we will reassess this common travel area and take all necessary measures to protect the health and safety of Nunavummiut.”