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Amid speculation that COVID-19 health restrictions, including a vaccine passport rollback, could happen within days or by the end of the month, Alberta’s NDP Official Opposition is calling for evidence to support it.
Premier Jason Kenney said Tuesday he hopes to roll back some if not all restrictions by the end of February. That would happen when there is reduced COVID-19 pressure on hospitalizations.
The NDP, citing leaked emails showing a fractured situation within the UCP, and unproven claims blockaders are negotiating the rollback of public health protections with a number of UCP MLAs acting independently of the government as evidence of rollbacks coming sooner rather than later.
“Public health decisions must be made based on science, and not on the never-ending political melodrama of the UCP,” said David Shepherd, NDP Critic for Health in a media release Thursday. “As we approach the two-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, I know all Albertans are looking forward to a return to normalcy. That transition must be managed responsibly in a way that keeps Alberta families and businesses safe.”
Shepherd went on to say he believes the UCP has zero credibility on the issue after what he calls the disastrous Best Summer Ever.
The NDP called on the Alberta government to greenlight public health officials going before Albertans with a detailed presentation of the COVID data, hospital forecasts, and reasoning behind a rollback of public protection, including a Vaccine passport rollback.
“The premier claimed these decisions will be driven by data, but Albertans can’t trust the UCP,” Shepherd said. “They must show their work in its entirety, and make the time to answer any and all questions and follow-ups that come out of their presentation.”
To date, England, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and several other countries have ended or significantly loosened COVID-19 restrictions. Saskatchewan’s Premier said he will scrap vaccine passports very soon, and Prince Edward Island is also planning to loosen restrictions soon. Manitoba is looking to be restriction-free by spring.
On Wednesday, the National Post reported on a Johns Hopkins University study that indicates shutdowns reduced COVID deaths by only 0.2%
The baseline is no restrictions. If there’s going to be a question about evidence, it should be asking for the evidence that supports keeping the ‘passports’.