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Non-essential travel to Fort Chipewyan restricted

Last Updated Mar 19, 2020 at 6:45 pm MDT

PHOTO. Supplied. Northern Alberta hamlet, Fort Chipewyan.

First Nations and Métis leaders asked for limits on all non-essential travel to Fort Chipewyan.

They hope this would prevent or reduce the spread of COVID-19 to the rural hamlet.

Leaders from the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation and Fort Chipewyan Métis Local 125 said the limit is effective immediately.

ACFN Chief Allan Adam said COVID-19 poses a serious health risk to Elders and those with underlying health conditions.

“We also know that the best way to reduce transmission of the virus is to limit contact between those who may be infected and those who are healthy.”

Chief Adam said the Elders are integral to the community.

He added they provide the guidance and wisdom Fort Chipewyan needs now and in the future.

“We believe this request will help to protect them, and others in Fort Chipewyan who are most at risk.”

Fort Chipewyan is accessible by air, water, and in the winter months by the ice road.

Chief Adam said the community does not have any positive cases at this time.

“We are asking anyone who is planning travel to the community for non-essential reasons – visiting, tourism, meetings – to reconsider their travel plans and instead consider the health and safety of our community.”

He added they plan to protect those most vulnerable by limiting exposure to others who may carry the illness.

According to 2018 Census data, Fort Chipewyan’s population is 1,000 people.

The limits on non-essential travel would remain in place until further notice.