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Strict seven-week lockdown would nearly wipe out all COVID cases in Alberta: expert

Last Updated Feb 7, 2021 at 3:28 pm MDT

Storefronts in Ottawa's Glebe neighbourhood are reflected in a sign indicating the temporary closure of a business to prevent the spread of COVID-19, on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Alberta would need to be under a strict seven-week lockdown for COVID-19 case numbers to drop near zero, according to one expert.

Dr. Malgorzata Gasperowicz, a developmental biologist at the University of Calgary, says based on personal findings, Alberta would need to take a similar approach to what New Zealand did at the beginning of the pandemic last year.

That includes more strict travel controls.

“Have mandatory quarantine for inter-provincial and international travelers so we don’t bring the new variant anymore,” said Gasperowicz. “Basically everything that’s non-essential should be shut down.”

Gasperowicz predicts COVID-19 case numbers will skyrocket once again beginning next month.

“We have the new variant now going around and this new variant is around 40 to 50 per cent higher transmissibility,” she said.

If Albertans manage to limit their close contacts during that seven-week lockdown – and if all non-essentials businesses, including schools, are closed – Gasperowicz believes we would be able to halt the transmission of old COVID-19 variants.

As for new variants, she says that strict lockdown would likely nip them in the bud.

And while life could then begin to return to a relative normalcy, Gasperowicz says travel controls would need to stay in place.

Meanwhile Premier Jason Kenney believes the federal government’s new travel restrictions should help limit the spread of the virus throughout Alberta.

“Pre-testing, testing upon arrival and the enhanced quarantine measures should all help to reduce future introduction of these viral variants into Alberta,” said Kenney.