Posted on Jan 27, 2021


EDMONTON - Alberta’s NDP Opposition is calling on Premier Jason Kenney to protect Albertans from new COVID variants by requiring 14 days of quarantine from international and domestic travellers arriving by air.

“We have a very limited window of opportunity to prevent these highly infectious new variants from spreading in Alberta,” said NDP leader Rachel Notley. “Half-measures are not enough. The government must act quickly and decisively, and strictly enforce 14 days of quarantine on anyone entering our province through an airport.”

On Monday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced that Alberta had identified 20 cases of the B117 variant first identified in the United Kingdom and five cases of the variant first identified in South Africa. One of the B117 cases could not be linked to travel, and Shandro said “it may have entered the broader community.”

Shandro said the B117 variant is 30 to 50 per cent more infectious than the virus currently in Alberta, although European authorities say it could be as much as 70 per cent more infectious. The variant is also spreading in the United States.

At the Monday press conference, Shandro announced small changes to Alberta’s border pilot. Travellers must now remain in quarantine until their second test results come back, and travellers from the UK and South Africa may not use it.

According to the federal government, there were confirmed cases of infectious COVID-19 on 24 domestic flights and 22 international flights that arrived in Alberta over the past two weeks.

“We must stop these variants to protect our hospitals, schools, seniors and small businesses. There will be tremendous harm to our economy, including our tourism and hospitality sectors, if these variants take hold in Alberta,” Notley said. “Jason Kenney was far too slow to act as the warning signs and the danger escalated in November and December. He even bragged about doing the bare minimum. He cannot make the same mistake again.”