KAWARTHA LAKES-The Ontario government announced today it currently has no plans to drop vaccine passports or mask mandates.
“We believe that masking is going to be important for some time to come and of course we take our advice from Dr Moore the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the people at the Science Advisory Table and other medical experts and so we always said we were going to take a very cautious phased, prudent approach to opening up and that’s the path that we are going to follow.” said Minister of Health Christine Elliott speaking from a Walmart store today.
In October 2021 Ford said he knew this was a “divisive” issue but said it was necessary to keep the province open in the coming months.
“We can’t afford to shut down again or see a sudden surge in cases like we’re seeing in other places across the country,” Ford said.
Since that statement and the implementation of vaccine passports there has been a huge surge in cases and another shutdown of schools and businesses.
On January 3, 2022 Ford announced the province was heading back to Step 2 in the reopening plan.
“In response to recent trends that show an alarming increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is temporarily moving the province into Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen with modifications that take into account the province’s successful vaccination efforts.” stated officials.
“These time-limited measures will help blunt transmission and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed as the province continues to accelerate its booster dose rollout. As part of the province’s response to the Omicron variant, starting January 5, students will pivot to remote learning with free emergency child care planned for school-aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers.” said the announcement.
The number of percent positive cases as well as hospitalizations has been on the decline in Ontario over the last few weeks.
On February 3 Ontario’s chief medical officer said it was time to “reassess” vaccine passports and other public health measures in the coming weeks. The UK, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland and others have announced a lifting of restrictions. In Canada both Alberta and Saskatchewan have announced they will be dropping COVID restrictions including passports. Quebec has also announced a plan that would see most restrictions lifted by March 14th.
“We will only use these certificates for as long as they are needed, and not one day longer.” Ford told Ontarians when announcing the passports last October.
Originally Ford outright rejected the idea of vaccine passports last July.
“No, we aren’t doing it. We aren’t going to have a split society,” he said. “I’m not in favour of mandatory certification and neither, by the way, is the Chief Medical Officer.”
Three months later the passports were implemented.
The CDC acknowledged in a segment on CNN in January that vaccines no longer prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Our vaccines are working exceptionally well. They continue to work for Delta with regard to severe illness and death, they prevent it.” said Rochelle Walensky CDC Director “What they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.”