HALIFAX -- New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs is encouraging protesters at the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border on the Trans-Canada Highway to end the blockade, saying this isn't the time to lose control or patience.

"This is a time that we exercise restraint, we keep moving in a direction that's getting us back to life as normal… We are on the cusp here of getting back to green," said Higgs.

Higgs says he has a meeting scheduled with the Atlantic premiers Wednesday afternoon to discuss the issues around the border and hopes to come to a mutual solution.

"I am confident, once they understand what we're doing and have been doing for 16 months to protect the entire Atlantic region hasn’t changed," said Higgs. "We are very comfortable with the recommendations of public health, we're very comfortable with the capabilities that they've demonstrated throughout the entire pandemic and I've never been more confident in our path forward as New Brunswickers, and as an Atlantic region, as we work together."

On Tuesday, Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin announced Nova Scotia’s borders would be opening at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning to people travelling from Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador – meaning they will no longer be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

However, some self-isolation restrictions for those travelling from New Brunswick remain in place and depend on the individual's vaccine status.

Rankin said the modified travel restrictions for travellers from New Brunswick were put in place due to that province’s decision to open its borders to the rest of Canada.

Shortly after Rankin's announcement on Tuesday, a protest on the Trans-Canada Highway formed near Amherst, N.S., blocking all four lanes of traffic in both directions. The blockade has since moved closer to the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the highway remains closed to traffic.

ONE NEW COVID-19 CASE

New Brunswick health officials reported one new case of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The new case involves an individual in their 90s in the province's Bathurst region (Zone 6). Public health says the new infections is a close contact to a previously reported case.

Seven previously reported cases in New Brunswick are now considered recovered, with the total number of active cases dropping to 43 - the lowest number of active cases the province has seen since mid-March.

N.B. COVID-19 CASE DATA

New Brunswick has had 2,320 cumulative cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

In total, 2,231 people have recovered, and 45 people have died in the province from COVID-19.

Five people are currently in hospital with COVID-19, including two in an intensive care unit.

Public health says 464 tests were completed on Tuesday in New Brunswick, and 358,608 total since the start of the pandemic.

The number of cases are broken down by New Brunswick’s seven health zones:

  • Zone 1 – Moncton region: 474 confirmed cases (no active cases)
  • Zone 2 – Saint John region: 298 confirmed cases (3 active case)
  • Zone 3 – Fredericton region: 441 confirmed cases (23 active cases)
  • Zone 4 – Edmundston region: 752 confirmed cases (no active cases)
  • Zone 5 – Campbellton region: 185 confirmed cases (no active cases)
  • Zone 6 – Bathurst region: 131 confirmed cases (17 active cases)
  • Zone 7 – Miramichi region: 39 confirmed cases (no active cases)

VACCINE UPDATE

New Brunswick's COVID-19 online dashboard provides an update on the amount of vaccines that have been administered to date.

As of Wednesday, 679,716 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in New Brunswick. The province says 76.5 per cent of the eligible population has received at least one dose, with 21.5 per cent now fully vaccinated.

“I am incredibly proud of how quickly our vaccination rate has risen and continues to rise,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “I encourage everyone to keep up the good work, as the best thing New Brunswickers can do is to get fully vaccinated as soon as they are able to do so.”

"It remains urgent that we get vaccines into the arms of as many New Brunswickers as possible, as soon as possible," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health.

Eligible New Brunswickers can book a second dose vaccine appointment if at least 28 days has passed since their first dose.

To receive their second dose, New Brunswickers are asked to bring a signed consent form, their Medicare card and a copy of the record of immunization provided after receiving their first dose.

Appointments for people who have not yet received their first dose continue to be available to all New Brunswickers aged 12 and older at regional health authority clinics and through participating pharmacies.

YELLOW LEVEL REMINDER

All of New Brunswick remains under the Yellow level of recovery under the province’s order.