Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks outside his Ottawa residence after self-isolating due to COVID-19 exposure, March 23, 2020. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

B.C. blasts decision to leave Canada-U.S. border open in COVID-19 pandemic

Snohomish County a hotbed of coronavirus cases, Adrian Dix says

B.C. health officials are openly questioning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to exempt American visitors from the closure of Canada’s borders to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said allowing visitors across the border from Washington state is not appropriate, and appealed directly to U.S. visitors to stay away as B.C.’s confirmed cases passed the 100 mark.

“We remain concerned that access from visitors from the United States continues to be allowed, given the situation particularly in Snohomish County in Washington state, which affects British Columbia more than anywhere else,” Dix said Monday.

“It’s our strong view, and our strong message, that visitors from the United States not come to British Columbia. Don’t come, because at this moment, this is the wrong thing to do. We understand that people are being asked to self-isolate, but better than self-isolate for visitors is not to come.”

Trudeau announced Monday that citizens of the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean would still be allowed in, along with people conducting trade and commerce between Canada and the U.S.

RELATED: Canada closes borders to all but North American visitors

RELATED: B.C. hospitals cancelling thousands of elective surgeries

Returning Canadian travellers and visitors from other countries were supposed to be told they should self-isolate for 14 days upon their return, but up to this past weekend, passengers at airports were reporting they got no such instructions. Some said they were only asked if they were coming from China or Iran, the two earliest hotspots for coronavirus.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday the situation at airports has improved.

“We know there were challenges over the weekend with the messages that were given out at the airport, but I understand that has been, finally, changed,” Henry said. “Our understanding is that since last night, people are being directed, correctly, to stay in isolation. And this is incredibly important for us.”

Trudeau appeared more than half an hour late for a news conference in Ottawa Monday morning, where he announced the closing of Canada’s borders to non-citizens, except for U.S. visitors. The federal government has been criticized for weeks for continuing to allow international flights from China, where the novel coronavirus began spreading in late 2019.

Last week, Premier John Horgan called for the Trudeau government to “up their game” on airport and land border screening, noting that travel-related cases show the U.S. has become a greater risk to B.C. than the initial coronavirus hotspots of China and Iran.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Researchers at UFV looking into effects of pandemic on activity and mental health

Survey is online now to gather data from people of all backgrounds on physical activity changes

Disinfectant wipes and sanitizer being stolen out of cars in Fraser Valley

RCMP reminding vehicle owners to remove all valuables from cars, even cleaning supplies

Call out for local committee members, to help Hope’s economy recover from COVID-19

Stabilizing businesses in the short term, and planning for recovery is the focus for AdvantageHOPE

Organ donation gives Fraser Valley RCMP officer a second chance at life

Cathleen Falebrinza celebrates Green Shirt Day after receiving a double lung transplant in 2016.

Stay off the tracks and stay alert, rail police warn

Last year, seven were killed and 10 seriously injured in rail crossing, trespassing incidents

COVID-19 death toll reaches 50 in B.C., while daily case count steadies

B.C. records 34 new cases in the province, bringing total active confirmed cases to 462

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan, amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

B.C.’s top doctor details prescription for safe long weekend

Yes, it includes hosting an online cooking show

BC SPCA seeks help for abandoned German shepherd puppies

Donations have ‘petered out’ as doors are closed due to COVID-19

Researchers to study whether plasma of recovered patients can treat COVID-19

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that contains the antibodies that protect against illness

Most Read