Wearing a mask | The Federal Ministry of Health urges extreme caution

(Ottawa) Health Canada is choosing to exercise extreme caution before recommending waiving of mandatory mask wearing in places where the federal government has a say, such as air travel and various government departments.

Updated yesterday at 1:20pm.

Joel Denis Bellavance

Joel Denis Bellavance
The press

Although developments in the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraging as summer approaches, stopping mask wear early may be contraindicated due to the presence of the much more contagious Omicron variant, argues the Public Health Agency’s chief administrator, DD Teresa Tam.

Wearing a mask in closed and crowded places is an additional layer of protection, the Dright Howard Njoo, Deputy Administrator of the agency. He reiterated that this matter is still under investigation and that any decision on it will be taken by the policy makers.

“It’s always important to have multiple layers of protection. Of course, vaccinations offer good protection. But the effectiveness against infections is not 100%. The other layers of protection, like wearing a mask when you’re in an enclosed space for a while with other people who aren’t from the same household, have some effectiveness. But that decision is up to the decision makers,” said the Dright Njoo.

This caution on the part of the federal authorities contrasts with the practice of the federal states, which, with a few exceptions, have largely decided to abolish the obligation to wear masks in public spaces. In the case of Quebec, as of May 14, wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory. In the health network and in public transport, however, it remains mandatory for the time being.

“Wearing a mask is an important personal protective measure. […] This is not only a personal protective measure, but also for other vulnerable or immunocompromised people,” he added.

The DD Tam pointed out that people who have received two doses of a vaccine can become infected with the Omicron variant and therefore need a booster shot to increase the level of protection. According to recent statistics, less than 50% of the Canadian population has had a third dose. Data on the proportion of Canadians who received a fourth dose are not yet available.

In addition, the DD Theresa Tam expressed concern about the increase in the number of measles cases reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) since the beginning of the year. According to her, the WHO found a 79 percent increase in measles cases worldwide in the first two months of this year compared to the same period last year. So far, no case of measles has been reported in the country. But once people start traveling again, that could change.

This increase is likely due to a shift in focus to vaccination against COVID-19 and vaccination against measles in children, or being lifted by parents. “These are vaccine-preventable diseases. But late vaccination during the pandemic is a major factor in this upward trend. Regardless of our age, we must keep our vaccines up to date throughout our lives,” stressed the Chief Administrator.

Separately, there is mounting evidence that the sixth wave of COVID-19 transmission is past or near the peak in several parts of the country, the Dright Howard Njoo. It’s hard to speak for the whole country, but I think we can say in general that we’re pretty close to peaking, or even past peaking. Even with the warmer temperatures we are in a better situation than before. »

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