Premiers cool to idea of expanding Atlantic bubble to other provinces
FREDERICTON -- With a new case of COVID-19 in New Brunswick Tuesday and another in Prince Edward Island, some say it's more proof that travel outside the Atlantic bubble could potentially open the door to new infections in the region.
In light of this, two Atlantic premiers say -- for now at least -- there will be no Canadian bubble.
"At this point, I would say, like my colleague the premier of Newfoundland, Premier Ball, that I don’t think we would be actively looking beyond the Atlantic bubble anytime soon," said Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King.
King says P.E.I. won't even consider it until after Aug. 1.
Initially, Newfoundland and Labrador's premier said he would consider opening to the rest of Canada on July 17.
On Tuesday, Dwight Ball's office said that date was only an example -- it would mark two weeks after the opening of the Atlantic bubble -- and that no firm decision has been made on an expansion.
"I know there's a lot of push to open the border for other reasons," said New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, who shares the same view as King and Ball.
Higgs had mused that an expansion could be possible by mid-to-late July, but in a statement, Higgs says the decision will only be made after discussions with the other three Atlantic premiers.
The Nova Scotia government says it will be based on its experience with the virus over the next several weeks.
Everyone agrees they'll be taking their advice from their chief medical officers.
New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, said Tuesday it's also being brought up during the medical officers' weekly call with Dr. Theresa Tam
"We know there's a risk involved in expanding the bubble, just as there was risk involved in expanding the New Brunswick bubble to Atlantic Canada," said Dr. Russell. "But you're trying to mitigate those risks with the risks that are involved in keeping everything shutdown for an indefinite period of time."
The New Brunswick Medical Society says many are relying on public health experts to make the ultimate decision.
"The decisions are being made by our experts on the best available evidence they have," said Dr. Chris Goodyear, president of the New Brunswick Medical Society.
Friday will mark two weeks since the opening of the Atlantic bubble, which allows residents of Atlantic Canada to travel freely within the four provinces without having to self-isolate.