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Governments look at lockdown options as COVID-19 cases spikes

Last Updated Nov 11, 2020 at 6:30 am MDT

CALGARY – As COVID-19 cases spike, calls to do more to bend the curve grow–a challenge made more difficult because there’s no consensus on how to do it.

In Alberta, a group doctors penned a letter to the province calling for a “circuit-breaker” lockdown–a short, sharp two-week lockdown.

READ MORE: Dozens of Alberta doctors asking for two-week lockdown

On Monday, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the idea, which was announced in B.C. over the weekend, was an interesting one.

“I’m a little bit perturbed that we’re back talking about using lockdown measures or circuit breakers,” said Ross Upshur with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Manitoba announced Tuesday that it would be imposing more lockdown measures as it moves into code red.


Toronto extended several measures already in place.

“A circuit breaker… is an attempt to actually stop transmission so we can get ahead of the game. And, actually, we’ve forgone that opportunity in Canada over the summer. We should have done the necessary investment in public health to get a cadre of contact tracers and information systems in place so that we wouldn’t have to go to using more rigorous lockdown measures.”

A new Leger poll shows most Canadians would prefer something less harsh—67 per cent support a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, with young people less enthusiastic about that plan.

READ MORE: Two-thirds of Canadians would support a COVID-19 curfew if pandemic severe: poll

Many countries and regions have tried other tactics with varied success.

“Lots of places around the world, Honduras, South Africa, have put in very drastic restrictions on going outside for only one hour a day,” he said.

“Singapore, South Korea, which seem to have a fairly proactive management strategy that relies on information technology which may great against people’s senses of how much data they want to have collected on them.”

Striking a balance between safety and normalcy is proving to be the key to getting everyone on board.