Canada is in a “transition phase” in its fight against COVID-19, while the federal Minister of Health Jean-Yves-Duclos confirmed on Wednesday the lifting of mandatory screening tests before arriving in the country on April 1.

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“High vaccination rates and rigorous adherence to public health measures have seen us ride the crest of the Omicron wave. We also have other tools, such as rapid screening tests, and a range of treatments to reduce the chances of serious illness in some people, ”he explained Thursday.

Random screening tests at the border will remain in force since the government sees this measure as a tool to better control the arrival of new variants and the increase in new cases.

In this regard, Minister Duclos noted that the positivity rates for tests carried out at the border went from 10% at the beginning of January to around 1% in mid-March.

Mr. Duclos insists that Canadians must remain “cautious” despite this “transition” in the fight against the pandemic.

The provinces, as a whole, have already largely relaxed their most restrictive measures over the past month.

Wastewater as a monitoring tool

In order to detect any resurgence of cases in the country, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) plans to increase surveillance carried out from sewage, a “new and innovative” technique, explained its deputy chief, Dr. Howard Njoo.

According to the latter, 60% of municipalities are already willing to do COVID-19 detection from wastewater, a figure that PHAC wants to increase to 80% and beyond.

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Wastewater testing can provide an “early signal” of an increased presence of a given virus within a community. It also makes it possible to verify the impact of certain health measures through the variation in the abundance of residual traces of the virus.

Large-scale surveillance will be a key to detecting any uptick in cases that the government already fears due to the releases.

Some places around the world are struggling with a rising epidemic curve. This is particularly the case in certain European countries and in several regions of Asia. The number of cases is growing exponentially in China, a country which has opted for a “covid-zero” strategy, taking all necessary means to avoid the emergence of an outbreak.

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Reference-www.journaldemontreal.com

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