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

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

UPDATED: Some states of local emergency suspended by ministerial order

Suspension applies to regional districts but not First Nations

A letter from Bella Coola doctors on COVID-19: ‘All our lives depend on your actions now’

“None of us are invincible; we can all get it and spread it without even knowing.”

COVID-19: Bella Coola RCMP close detachment front door access

The public is being asked to call 250 799 5363 for assistance

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

Newspapers are safe to touch, World Health Organization confirms

Just make sure to wash your hands as you would after touching any surface or object

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

Most Read