Alberta and Saskatchewan have taken the lead among provinces and territories in signalling their intentions to soon remove most, if not all, remaining COVID-19 public health restrictions.

Premier Jason Kenney says his government will announce next week a date to end Alberta's COVID-19 vaccine passport, as well as a phased approach to ending almost all COVID-19 health restrictions by the end of the month, provided the pressure on hospitals continues to decline.

Meanwhile in Saskatchewan where COVID-19 related hospitalizations are at their highest level since the pandemic began, Premier Scott Moe says he's committed to ending all COVID-19 restrictions soon.

Moe said in a video posted to social media that COVID-19 is not going away, but people are done with having to follow public health orders, so "normalizing" the virus and learning to live with it is the achievable option.

The Saskatchewan Medical Association, however, is warning that loosening health measures would strain the province's health-care system.

Ontario and Quebec, which have seen a slight decline in COVID-related hospitalizations this week, have both eased some restrictions, however, scientists and health officials in the two provinces have warned that cases will likely rise again as partial reopenings progress.

Newfoundland and Labrador is set loosen restrictions on businesses and group sizes on Monday, though Premier Andrew Furey, who is also an orthopedic surgeon, said Thursday that any changes must be done with caution.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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