Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe has signalled that COVID-19 measures and restrictions will be ending soon. He said it was time to end a “perpetual state of crisis” and government curbs on rights and freedoms.
“Now, that’s not because COVID has ended,” he said. “It most certainly hasn’t. It’s because people understand it better. They understand what they need to do, they understand the risk and they are prepared to live with that risk more than they are prepared to live with the ongoing government intrusion into their lives.”
Moe said the government of Saskatchewan will be taking steps shortly to manage COVID-19 in the same way it deals with other communicable diseases and seasonal viruses.
He urged those who had not received a jab to get vaccinated, saying it offered significant protection. However, Moe also said that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people were getting the virus in its current form at virtually the same rate.
His comments came in a video statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday, February 2.
On Wednesday, February 2, Scott Moe, Premier of Saskatchewan, delivered this video message on Twitter about the remaining COVID-19 measures:
“There has been a lot of discussion lately about whether it is time for us in Saskatchewan to look at ending all the remaining COVID measures and restrictions that we have in place. I think it is time.
“That’s what I’m hearing. That’s what our MLAs are hearing from most of their constituents.
“Now, that’s not because COVID has ended. It most certainly hasn’t. It’s because people understand it better. They understand what they need to do, they understand the risk and they are prepared to live with that risk more than they are prepared to live with the ongoing government intrusion into their lives.
“Remember when this first started so very long ago. Government measures were supposed to last, I think, two weeks. Well, it has been two years. Two years of some of the most challenging times for this province and quite frankly some of the most challenging times that this world has seen. But as we move through all of those challenges we learn more about this virus and we learn more about how we can protect ourselves. We learn to assess our risks and we learn to make the right choices for ourselves and our families.
“The tools we can use have also evolved over that period of time -– vaccines, anti-viral treatments are now available, testing options have become widely available. So that brings us to today. It’s time for us to have an honest conversation about COVID and our path forward.
“What I am about to say will sound radical to some, some quite frankly aren’t going to like it. But eradicating COVID is not realistic, COVID zero is not achievable, but normalizing COVID or living with COVID most certainly is.
“I’m concerned that COVID being the constant topic of conversation and dictating our daily lives will have a negative long-term impact on each of us in this province. Calls for daily government intrusion into people’s lives, scepticism regarding anything remotely positive that is related to COVID – this perpetual state of crisis is having a harmful impact on everyone. For example, I heard this recently: ‘I did everything right and I still got COVID’.
“Well, COVID is a virus. It is a highly transmissible virus that many people are contracting. In its current form, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are getting it at virtually the same rate. So to be clear, if you get COVID, you’ve done nothing wrong. It is just impossible for you or anyone to eliminate all of the risk. But, here is the positive news, because now in Saskatchewan so many people are vaccinated and because Omicron seems to be much less severe than previous strains – yes, more people are getting Omicron, but they aren’t getting as sick. We may continue to see COVID morph into different variants and forms in the coming months and years, but we need to end the perpetual state of crisis.
“Recently, we dropped the requirements for close contacts to self-isolate. You heard me now many times talk about ending the proof of vaccination system in our province. Other provinces and other countries are also having this very important conversation about how they are going to move forward living with COVID.
“In the coming days and weeks, the government of Saskatchewan will be taking a number of steps to manage COVID in the same way that we manage other communicable diseases, seasonal viruses that we deal with in our communities each and every year.
“Dr. Shahab (Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical officer) and his team will continue to provide updates on any new emerging issues that may be related to COVID or other public health risks that are affecting our province. Our number one priority will be ensuring that healthcare services will be there, be available for anyone that may require them. So what does that all mean for us?
“It means COVID is not ending, but government restrictions on your rights and freedoms, those will be ending, and ending very soon.
“So keep doing what you are doing. Go get vaccinated if you have not yet. While it may not prevent you from getting COVID, it will significantly protect you against getting sick. Use rapid tests from time to time, stay home if you are not feeling well, travel, go to work, have dinner with your friends, go to the movies, go to your kids’ games most importantly; you should do all of these things without constantly assessing if your every activity is absolutely necessary. What’s necessary is your freedom. What’s necessary is getting your life back to normal, and it’s time. I want to thank all of you for the sacrifices that you have made over the past two years. I know the people of Saskatchewan are ready for these next steps. You are going to be hearing more details about these next steps in the days ahead.”