Sask NDP call Health Minister’s recent quarantine comments “dangerous”

The Saskatchewan NDP is calling out Provincial Health Minister Paul Merriman for comments made regarding quarantine rules in the province.

In a recent interview, Merriman claimed that COVID-19 isolation should be “the responsibility of the individual” as it is no longer mandated by public health orders.

NDP Leader Ryan Meili says the Minister’s comments were irresponsible and dangerous, adding it’s his job to give clear advice, not mixed messages.

“Do your job, come on,” said Meili. “This message that if people have a highly transmissible, dangerous, infectious disease, that his message is ‘you do you’, rather than a clear message to stay home, he’s not doing his job, he doesn’t understand his file. Get it together, we are not out of the woods yet, things are getting better, there’s hope, but do it right.”

The Minister’s comments come a day after health officials in Alberta eliminated COVID-19 quarantine rules.

Meili says the government moved too quickly in lifting all public health orders which previously enforced quarantine with a hefty $2,800 fine.

When asked if he understands the rules around quarantine in the province, Meili said he’s just as confused as everyone else.

‘’I don’t, and I wish I did, and I wish that’s Paul Merriman did but he doesn’t have a clue because he doesn’t know what he’s doing,” said Meili. “And this is so frustrating because the people of Saskatchewan need to know what we’re doing. Let’s have a clear plan, and the clear message is if you have COVID-19, stay away from people for 14 days, it is not a hard message to make clear.”

Meili says the most frustrating thing about the pandemic is that there has never been a clear plan laid out by the government on what happens next.

“Every step it’s always a surprise, surprise you don’t need to do this anymore, surprise now you need to do this, there’s never any clear roadmap,” said Meili. “A clear roadmap of if we get to this many cases, we’re going to reintroduce masks locally or across the province, that should be in place, that should always have been in place.”

In an emailed response, the province said anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by contract tracers, and will be directed to self-isolate for at least 10 days. They add the direction has been and continues to be provided by health officials.

They go on to say if anyone breaks quarantine, they could be charged $2,800.

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