Coronovirus continues to spread in Nunavut, the Arctic region of Canada – with disastrous results.
Canada is fighting against an increasing number of infections; Toronto, the largest city, has been closed since Monday, with stricter restrictions for businesses and homes. But Canada’s Arctic Territory Nunavut is of particular concern. Due to the sudden increase in the number of infections, the area has been subject to strict restrictions since last week. The Arctic region, largely inhabited by the Inuit, which by the beginning of November was completely free of Kovid, is experiencing an outbreak of epidemics in some communities. In often remote settlements of the Indian population, disastrous consequences are feared, especially for older community members.
“Stay at home, stay safe,” for the approximately 35,000 people living in the two-million-square-kilometer Arctic region, born in Savitak, the region’s major Arivat. There are already more than 100 cases of infection in the area’s 25 municipalities, 80 of them about 3,000 residents: Arwitt, west of Hudson’s Bay. The head of the Department of Health, Michael Patterson, fears that the virus will spread further.
Nunavut is a term in the Inuit language and means “our country”. No municipal and settlements in the area can be reached by road. But people often move from one community to another on a snowmobile. This should prevent lockdown now.
Remote tribal communities often have tight living conditions, with neither hospitals nor doctors. The nurses initially care for the sick; In severe cases, patients are sent south.
Many Indigenous Canadians are in worse health than the rest of the population. “We cannot ignore the fact that Indigenous people in Canada are more vulnerable than non-Indigenous populations,” the federal minister attributed to Indigenous people Mark Miller.
Like the other two Arctic territories, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, Nunavut severely cut ties with the southern provinces during the first Kovid wave in March. Quarantine centers have been established in Winnipeg and Ottawa. Whoever wanted to fly south to Nunavut, had to withdraw from there. Nevertheless, the virus arrived in Arviat – probably from Winnipeg, which has been particularly vulnerable to the epidemic.
In the spring, a state of emergency was declared for the communities and settlement areas of about 600 First Nations, as the Indian nations of Canada are called. There are more than 100 First Nations communities fly-in communities that can only be reached by air. Communities along the roads to the south erect barriers and pass only to their residents.
The Canadian federal government has initiated a program to support indigenous communities in the Kovid crisis, amounting to $ 685 million (approximately 450 million euros) so far.
The Nunavut government is counting on the population to follow the recommendations and regulations so that the lockdown can be lifted in two weeks. Hotels and school gyms are being designed to accommodate people in an emergency situation who have to go into quarantine and cannot do so in view of tight living conditions at home.
“We all knew that some Kovid-19s would also reach Nunavut,” says Health Minister Lorne Kusugak. “Now the virus is here and it is up to us to stop it from spreading.”