Since the announced detection of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, a new poll suggests Canadians are bracing for the worst.
More than four in five respondents to an online poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies said they supported closing the Canadian border to travelers from specific countries where the variant is already present.
In response to Omicron’s detection, Canada quickly put travel measures in place, including banning visitors who have recently traveled to 10 African countries, to curb the spread.
The survey of 1,547 Canadians was conducted from December 3-5. It cannot be given a margin of error because Internet surveys are not considered to be truly random samples.
Based on respondents’ comments on the potential impact of Omicron, LÃ©ger’s executive vice president Christian Bourque said people expected the new variant to be as bad, if not worse, than the Delta variant.
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Forty-four percent of those polled said Omicron would have a greater impact on the number of cases than Delta, while 43 percent said the impact would be the same.
âExpectations are not overly optimistic,â said Bourque.
Sixty-eight percent said they would approve the reintroduction of restrictions such as social distancing and temporary closures in Canada for certain public places and activities.
Bourque said the approval rate for the restrictions had declined somewhat compared to previous polls, in which more than 80% were in favor of the safety measures.
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âI don’t think Canadians are eager to go back,â he said.
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A majority of respondents favored the possibility of closing Canada’s border with the United States for a period of time.
“We were a little surprised to see that almost two in three Canadians say we should consider closing the border with the United States although, and for many months, many Canadians waited for the day the border would reopen.” , said Bourque.
Seventy-eight percent said they would support the acceleration plans to introduce a “booster” or third dose of approved COVID-19 vaccines to certain populations.
“I think if the government said, ‘This is our policy on the booster dose for the future,’ Canadians will be largely receptive and that would not be a problem at all,” said Bourque.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada, LÃ©ger asked respondents to describe their opinion on the state of the pandemic in the country.
The latest poll showed a significant drop in the share of those polled who think the worst of the crisis is behind us.
âSince Omicron’s announcement, we’ve really seen a decline in Canadians who are optimistic about where we are in the pandemic,â Bourque said.
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