Canadian health minister says pandemic could go on for ‘years’

Justin Trudeau’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said on Monday that coronavirus pandemic-related precautions may go on “months, possibly even years.”

Those comments came as Duclos questions about whether the Trudeau government in Canada will change the definition of “fully-vaccinated” to mean those who have received a booster shot.

“There will always be, unfortunately, people who will be infected with COVID and some of them will have severe symptoms,” Duclos said. “It’s a lot better to avoid these people having to go to a hospital for all sorts of personal and public health reasons.” Duclos went on to say that he has placed heavy orders for coronavirus-related treatments. For example, those orders include with Merck and Pfizer for a million doses of oral antiviral medications. 

But the cost of this plan has not yet been released to the Canadian public. Duclos has simply said that this was “a very significant step in further enhancing the tools, what we can use over the next months, possibly even years, in order to protect both people and the health care system.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said previously that vaccines would bring about the end of the pandemic. “Normality,” he said, “as it was before, could not return until there is a vaccine and it could be in a year, year and a half,” said Trudeau.

At this time, over 75 percent of Canadians have been vaccinated fully against COVID-19, but with the rise of the new omicron variant, the country has taken several precautions.

Last week, new travel guidelines were put in place as 10 African countries were hit with increased restrictions. While foreign nationals who have travelled to any of the 10 countries in the past two weeks are not allowed to enter Canada, Canadian citizens and permanent residents traveling home from those locations must take a COVID-19 test in order to return home.

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