The group also pointed out that the Delta variant has already caused several outbreaks in Canada, including at the Foothills Medical Center in Calgary, as well as a large number of cases in the Peel region, Ontario and Manitoba.
“Under these circumstances, reopening too quickly will result in the loss of much of the hard work we put into stopping the spread and triggering the fourth wave,” the letter said. “If we make our last effort, the current sinking wave may be the last.”
In a letter to prime ministers on Thursday, Zero Covid Canada also advised provinces to maintain facial disguise and social distancing and re-establish indoor seating restrictions only after 70% of residents have received two doses of the vaccine.
The group also urged the provinces to prioritize second doses of vaccine for key workers and people living in high-infection areas, ensure the supply of N95 masks and protect children by closing schools.
The group is a collection of researchers, doctors, engineers, activists, lawyers, educators and “interested citizens”.
Ontario said Thursday that it is accelerating the introduction of second doses to people in hot spots affected by the Delta option. Starting Monday, residents of the seven designated areas who received their first dose before May 9 can now schedule their second injection earlier.
Also Thursday, Manitoba unveiled its resumption plan that will ease public health restrictions as more people get vaccinated.
“The more of us are vaccinated, the sooner we can regain our freedom and enjoy what we have lost over the past year and a half,” said Prime Minister Brian Pallister.