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

City of Nelson takes over farmers’ markets from EcoSociety

Markets start June 13 and will be run by the Nelson and District Youth Centre

Nelson offers financing for homeowners to purchase electric bikes

Loan payments will be applied to hydro bills as part of the EcoSave home retrofit program

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change

‘There is something better on the other side of this,’ says Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom

Columbia Basin Trust expands programming to support businesses

The revised programs will help local businesses to reopen and modify operations

Limit gun capacity to five bullets, victims group urges Trudeau government

Current limits are generally five bullets for hunting rifles and shotguns and 10 for handguns.

Most Read