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A Nova Scotia conservation officer passes a paper to a person crossing into the province from New Brunswick, on April 2, 2020.JOHN MORRIS

A recent spike in COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick has led Nova Scotia to tighten its borders to the neighbouring province.

Starting Saturday at 8 a.m., people entering Nova Scotia from New Brunswick will be required to isolate for two weeks.

“What we’re saying here is, ‘Do not go to New Brunswick, and New Brunswickers, do not come here, unless it is for essential purposes,’ " Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil told reporters Friday.

There are exceptions to the new rules, however. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said essential workers, people with medical appointments and those honouring legal child custody arrangements will be exempt from the restrictions.

Otherwise, New Brunswick residents arriving in the province will have to complete a check-in form and immediately begin their 14-day isolation period.

The new isolation order is not retroactive, but people who arrived from New Brunswick during the past two weeks are asked to get a COVID-19 test immediately and self-isolate. Dr. Strang extended the request to Nova Scotians who have had visitors from New Brunswick in the past two weeks as well, though no isolation is necessary in those cases, he added.

Permanent residents of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are not subject to the order if they drive through New Brunswick with zero or minimal stops.

Dr. Strang said schools in Nova Scotia will reopen on Monday as planned after the province extended the holiday break as a COVID-19 measure.

On the vaccination front, Nova Scotia received an additional 3,900 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, which will be delivered to hospitals in Cape Breton and the Annapolis Valley, Dr. Strang said. Vaccine clinics for health care workers will begin in both hospitals on Monday, the first clinics outside Halifax.

In Halifax, Dr. Strang said long-term care residents will begin getting vaccinated as early as Monday – a week earlier than originally planned – in Northwood’s Halifax and Bedford campuses.

And by the end of next week, the province will have been supplied with 23,000 doses of vaccine, he added.

Health authorities in Nova Scotia reported two new cases of COVID-19 Friday.

Officials say one case identified in the eastern zone and the other was found in the central zone, which includes Halifax. Both are related to travel outside the Atlantic region.

Mr. McNeil said the 29 active cases of COVID-19 in his province is a low number coming off the holiday season, and he wants to keep it that way.

Dr. Kanna Vela has been treating COVID-19 patients in emergency departments in Ajax and Scarborough, Ontario for nearly 10 months. She lived apart from her family at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Receiving her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in late December has given Dr. Vela some hope for the months ahead as hospitals struggle to care for the rise in COVID-19 cases.

The Globe and Mail

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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