Passengers will have to wait outside of airport terminals in Nunavik under new restrictions designed to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the region.
The Kativik Regional Government (KRG) announced new restrictions starting Wednesday in a news release.
There are now 25 active cases in the region, with six new cases announced Wednesday. Four of those cases have been linked to Nunavik airports.
Air passengers will be allowed in the terminal building only right before or after their flights, the release said. Once inside, travellers will need to practice physical distancing, wear a mask, and stay in the building for as short a time as possible.
The Nunavik villages of Salluit and Kangirsuk in northern Quebec are currently under lockdown, with only essential flights allowed in and out. In both communities, just one positive case of unknown origin sparked the lockdown. Salluit remains at just one case, but there are now 11 in Kangirsuk.
Regular flights have resumed in Ivujivik with essential travel only, the release said. The village of about 400 now has 11 cases and expects more. A curfew was introduced there on Oct. 13 to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Inukjuak, which currently has two cases, is also being closely monitored, though the local authorities said the situation there appears to be stable.
Salluit, Ivujivik and Kangirsuk are all currently on red alert, which means there is a complete shutdown of all non-essential activity.
All other communities in the region are on orange alert. That means gatherings of more than 10 people (such as weddings, mass) are cancelled, meetings involving people from other communities are cancelled, and only essential travel is allowed within the region.
In addition, emergency response teams that were set-up at the outset of the pandemic have been re-activated.
"The Kativik Regional Government is taking this situation very seriously and is making sure all communities are prepared to deal with any further spread of the COVID-19 virus," the release said.
The KRG encourages everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated, noting that the vaccine is available at all health clinics, and getting the shot is "by far the most effective way to reduce the spread of the virus."