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Alberta premier 'confident' COVID-19 measures could be relaxed by end of March

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EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney says he wants to eliminate Alberta's COVID-19 vaccine passport program as soon as it's safe to do so.

Kenney says the government will move toward a widespread relaxation of public health measures once pressure on the health system and COVID-19 hospitalizations trend down.

He says he is confident those changes could come by the end of March.

The vaccine passport system in Alberta, called the Restrictions Exemption Program, permits businesses to operate with less restrictions if patrons provide proof of vaccination, negative test results or a medical exemption.

Kenney's comments come as Alberta records an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations to 1,469 from 1,418 and a slight decrease in intensive care admissions to 41 from 43.

Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, also says children under the age of two will be eligible again for provincial PCR testing, since rapid tests and vaccinations are not currently an option for this age group.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2022.

The Canadian Press