Dr. Chirico warns against international travel as holidays approach – BayToday.ca

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The local medical officer of health is advising against heading south for the holidays.
"You really have to do an individual risk assessment and figure out your own risks," Dr. Jim Chirico said during the most recent North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit press conference.
"Personally, I would not be travelling internationally and I would recommend that you don't do it," Chirico added. 
The recommendation came even before this past weekend's increase in cases due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, as Chirico echoed comments made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cautioning against international travel.
Last Wednesday, the federal government warned Canadians against all non-essential international travel due to the emergence of Omicron.
"To those who were planning to travel I say very clearly, now is not the time to travel," said Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos during a news conference.
Duclos added Omicron has been detected in most countries worldwide and Canadians who do travel risk finding themselves stranded in foreign lands. "The rapid spread of the Omicron variant on a global scale makes us fear the worst for Canadians that may think of travelling."
See related: 'Now is not the time to travel,' Duclos says as Canada warns against trips abroad
And: Travellers nervous as Omicron cases surge, but pushing ahead with plans
"Omicron is really different than what we've faced before, it's so much more contagious," Chirico cautioned. "You have to consider, you're going to be on a plane, in an enclosed space. There are higher risks. If you are a person that is at higher risk, you really need to consider that."
Meanwhile, a travel and tourism sector attempting to recover from early pandemic restrictions is predictably against the feds' declaration.
See: 'Unnecessary disruption and chaos': Travel sector livid as Ottawa issues new advisory
WestJet CEO Harry Taylor stressed, "Fully vaccinated Canadians should not be singled out for choosing to take part in a safe activity," in a statement last week.
Taylor added, "Travel bans, restrictions and blanket advisories are devastating to the continued economic recovery of the country and place tens of thousands of recently recalled Canadian travel and tourism jobs at risk."
And, not all politicians are in lockstep with the Liberal government. According to a CP report, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole's office said there is no international travel ban in place and the advisory is meant only to help those who are vaccinated make informed decisions about their travel plans. 
See: Conservative MPs free to travel internationally, Liberal, NDP MPs must stay home
"This applies to MPs and all Canadians," O'Toole's communications director Josie Sabatino stated. "As such, members of the Conservative caucus can continue to travel internationally." 
Duclos summed up, "We know that this may sound very drastic but we must avoid overloading our hospital system and our health care workers."
With files from The Canadian Press
About the Author: Stu Campaigne
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