From 5pm on Monday, travellers won’t be allowed into or out of Behchokǫ̀ unless they can demonstrate full vaccination against Covid-19 or show a negative test result.
The measure is included in an updated public health order issued by the NWT’s chief public health officer, Dr Kami Kandola, on Monday afternoon. The order marks the first time travel within the territory has been restricted in such a manner.
Dr Kandola’s office said the measure would be enforced by the community of Behchokǫ̀’s own security personnel with assistance from the NWT government’s Covid-19 Secretariat. The measure will remain in place until at least the end of October 18. All other restrictions on gatherings in the community stay the same.
“If travellers do not have proof of vaccination, proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken on the day of travel is required,” read a news release from the territorial government.
“This proof can be shown with an assessment card given to the traveller after undergoing a rapid test at a health centre. It is valid for 72 hours unless you become symptomatic or your Covid-19 risk has changed.
“For those travellers that have no proof of vaccination but have already had Covid-19 and recovered within the prior 180 days, an exemption letter from the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer is required.”
Fully vaccinated travellers are told: “If you received your vaccine in the NWT, you will be asked to consent to this being verified. If you received your vaccine outside the NWT, you will need to provide proof of vaccination.”
Travellers who aren’t fully vaccinated are told to plan ahead and call your health centre for a test ahead of travel.
Residents on medical travel can also receive a note from the NWT’s health authority allowing that travel to take place.
Travel outside Behchokǫ̀ is barred for residents who have Covid-19 or its symptoms, are a contact of someone with Covid-19 (including members of the same household), or who have been told to isolate by a healthcare provider
A small number of exceptions to the new travel restrictions apply, such as essential workers and children aged under two. You can view the full public health order on the GNWT’s website.
So far, the new measure applies only to Behchokǫ̀, where 100 active Covid-19 cases were reported on Friday – an increase of 41 in a week.