Canada hasn’t even dropped its COVID travel restrictions, and already the government has elevated monkeypox to Level 2 status, which means travellers may be subject to “isolation,” i.e., mandatory quarantine.
As per a Health Canada announcement, “In the current outbreak, those at risk of infection are those who have had close or intimate contact with a person who has monkeypox.”
“During your travel, you may be subject to procedures at your destination put in place to limit the spread of monkeypox, such as isolation, should you become infected. You may have limited access to timely and appropriate health care should you become ill, and may experience delays in returning home.”
This announcement also suggests that, much like COVID, the Canadian government plans on utilizing COVID infrastructure to track individuals suspected of having contacted those with confirmed monkeypox infections.
Health Canada continues, saying the federal government is now working with provincial and international governments to monitor the spread of monkeypox, even though cases remain low and monkeypox isn’t transmitted easily.
They are also recommending the use of personal protective equipment while travelling, which may mean additional mask mandates down the road.
Besides being one of the first countries to jump the gun on quarantining those who come down with a case of monkeypox, Canada is also one of the first countries (if not the first) to begin vaccinating people for monkeypox using the smallpox vaccine following the recent outbreak.
Quebec was the first to begin vaccinating for monkeypox, despite having only 25 cases in the province at the time.
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As of yesterday (half a month later), there are now supposedly 85 cases, and over 500 Quebecers have received the smallpox vaccine.
Health officials also appear to be focused almost exclusively on monitoring gay men due to the spread believed to be occurring during sexual intercourse between individuals who attended a Spanish Pride festival — though monkeypox isn’t classified as a sexually-transmitted disease.
“We’re seeing the chain of transmission mainly in social networks in men who have sex with men,” said Montreal’s medical officer, Genevieve Bergeron.
It isn’t clear whether the government plans on tracking heterosexuals, too, or if it’s just gay men being targeted during Pride month.