The New Brunswick government has confirmed 3 new cases of COVID-19 [read more here], two of which are from direct contact with a “medical professional” who failed to self isolate after going to Quebec for personal reasons. One of those infected was 90 years old, and considering COVID-19s track record with senior citizens, this news is worrisome.
I have been starkly critical of the government for COVID-19 measures, and their grasping of power throughout this public health crisis. I wrote a piece for my blog entitled, “How Covid-19 Measures Are A Violation Of Human Rights”. I am very aware of the nuances of public health vs. the human right to movement, to travel, and for personal choice. As I said in that piece, “the point is to always question which rights are being infringed upon and why.” In this case, the right to travel is blatantly a risk to public health – proven by the outcome.
COVID-19 is so easy to catch that one person leaving the province was able to infect two others – with more likely to come. It was reported that this individual is a medical professional (of all things) who worked for TWO WHOLE WEEKS after returning. Who were these people wrongly exposed at their most vulnerable?
I will always be worried about government control and civil liberties. However, 14 days isolation in your own home is not a punishment. It is not detainment, nor is it a lot to ask of somebody who deemed their travel so necessary to Quebec, that their own health was set aside for the trip. Whatever the “personal reasons” were – and I cannot comment on what I don’t know – I cast my doubts that it was worth infecting a 19 and 90 year old back home, and perhaps many more to come.
The public has every right to be upset that a healthcare professional – the exact profession that is meant to protect us and help us through COVID-19, was spreading the disease based on their own personal interests. I am deeply disturbed and saddened by the action of this individual. While New Brunswick has had less cases than most of the country—Quebec, the province this individual visisted, had more than the entire country with 40,000+.
I don’t know if there should be charges for this individual. I do think this is a question that needs to be answered by judicial practices, by human rights lawyers, and by the greater public. It’s a tough situation we’re all in, but in the meantime, on a personal human level – I am disappointed.
At the very least, if this person still wanted to travel, they could have taken 2 weeks from their life to protect others. Instead? They risked the lives of numerous persons, the true impact yet to be discovered.
I think now is a time where we should reflect on our own actions. The greatest threat to our small province will always be our borders. I am worried that those who own cottages between the provinces will lie about isolation, they will continue to have their vacations or visit relatives despite the risks. I am from Nova Scotia and unable to see my own family, but that doesn’t mean I will risk the lives of others to do so.
Perhaps border closures are a human rights violation in some ways, but article three has always been stacked, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” There is a reason why life comes before liberty and security.