Interprovincial travel ban an unlikely response to combat COVID-19, B.C.’s top doctor says

Interprovincial travel ban an unlikely response to combat COVID-19, B.C.’s top doctor says

We are too dependent on each other, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Restrictions on travel from outside of Canada have, so far, not been applied to travel within the country to curb COVID-19. B.C. health officials say that it is unlikely due to the interconnectedness of the provinces.

The federal government has closed its borders to foreign nationals and non-Canadian citizens, as well as placed an official global travel advisory to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada. Anyone who returns to Canada from abroad is being asked to self-isolate for 14 days upon return.

On Saturday, March 21, the Northwest Territories announced it would be shutting its borders to inbound travel by air, land and port for non-residents.

RELATED: Border between Canada and U.S. likely to close Friday night

But an internal travel advisory does not appear to be on the horizon for Canada, simply because it would be too difficult to implement, according to B.C’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“We have had discussions nationally about how best to do that, but the reality is we are all interconnected,” she said. “We have family, we have urgent issues we share health care resources in some cases but we also share those essential lines of services like being able to deliver food to get resources to keep things moving all around us.”

Instead, Henry said, health officials have been focusing on how to ensure travellers are cautious of their health risks, through implementing health checks upon arrival so that people are self-monitoring their symptoms.

She urged anyone who has been exposed to the virus and those who aren’t feeling well to avoid travelling to other provinces.

“Take the same precautions you take when you are here,” she said, “like only going to places you need to go with your family, social distancing is being practiced across the board in this country whether you are here or in Saskatoon or in Whitehorse.”

An internal travel restriction was imposed in Italy on March 9. This came after a lockdown had been imposed on northern Italy, the scene of the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the country. That was then extended to the whole country when Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte issued a government decree that requires all people in Italy to demonstrate a need to work, health conditions or other reasons to travel outside of the regions where they live.

Chinese officials imposed a lockdown on the city of Wuhan, limiting travel in and out of that city and it has been credited with slowing down the spread of the virus.

British Columbia’s Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena dismissed the notion of an interprovincial travel ban during a wide-ranging interview March 17.

“We are one country,” she said. “We are looking at ways to continue as one country.”

RELATED: COVID-19: Tofino asks visitors to postpone trips, return home

B.C. is ensuring people can continue to travel around the province and if there is essential travel around the country needed, officials will make sure that continues.

“We are dependant in many ways on the rest of the country,” Trevena said. “We have economic dependency, we need our supply chains. We have two very important courts that operate. We need to ensure that we continue to have the ability to work as one country.”

It’s just as important that people take proper precautions when they travel, such as washing hands regularly, disposing of tissues and keeping at least two metres away from others.

READ MORE: More than 400 COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths in B.C.

COVID-19 in Canada
Infogram


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirustravel

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

Just Posted

Crews retrieved the overturned commercial truck from the crash scene on Friday, Nov. 20. Photo: Betsy Kline
UPDATE: Kootenay woman dies in Genelle collision

The incident occurred Thursday, Nov. 19.

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
104 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

IH is reporting the new numbers since Friday, Nov. 20

Marty Horswill, March 14, 1944 – November 9, 2020. File photo
Seventy years of song: Marty Horswill’s legacy remembered

The third-generation Nelson resident and vocalist died on Nov. 9

Interior Health says there have been 24 cases of COVID-19 in Salmo in November. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
UPDATED: COVID-19 cases rise to 24 in Salmo

The cases are connected to social events in the village

Trail RCMP seized illicit drugs, cash and a weapon following a traffic stop in West Trail on Nov. 18. Photo: Trail RCMP
West Kootenay man, woman face drug charges after traffic stop

Police report that three types of illicit drugs were seized as well as cash and a Taser

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

Most Read