Official Opposition sounds alarm as P.1 variant cases identified in Saskatchewan

REGINA - Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili sounded the alarm today on news of the arrival of the highly transmissible P.1 variant of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. The new variant was first identified in Brazil.

“The Premier failed to contain the second and now third waves of COVID-19 when he had the chance, and it is the people of Saskatchewan who are paying the price,” said Meili. “With ICU admissions at a record high and the growing case-load in Saskatoon concerning doctors and public health officials, this new variant poses a potential risk to overwhelm our health-care system.”

Meili noted that Dr. Shahab and other public health officials have raised concerns about the potential severity of the P.1 variant, its potential to reinfect people who have already contracted COVID-19 and how effective current vaccines are in combating this strain. 

“Vaccines are absolutely crucial to beating COVID-19, but they are not the only measure we need, especially with vaccine supply in question,” said Meili. “The Premier owes the people of Saskatchewan a full accounting of how the province plans to address a potential new spike in variant cases, including releasing all modelling and advice from the SHA experts.”

In February, New Democrats raised the alarm about variants and called for a clear plan for a 3rd wave, including wide-spread rapid testing in schools, long-term care facilities, and high-risk communities and workplaces. 

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