A spokesperson for the federal agency patrolling the international ferry terminal in Sidney says she could not offer information or comment on possible future plans concerning the containment of COVID 19 at that location. (Black Press Media File)

Canadian Border Services Agency silent on potential future security measures at Sidney ferry terminal

Ferry service between Sidney and Anacortes, WA resumes March 31

A spokesperson for the federal agency patrolling the international ferry terminal in Sidney says she could not comment on possible plans concerning the containment of COVID 19 once sailings resume.

The scheduled resumption of ferry service between Sidney and Anacortes, WA on Sunday, March 29 comes amid growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 cases in Washington State, a hotspot in the United States.

As of Wednesday morning, Washington State officials recorded 10 deaths from the coronavirus currently spreading around the world. The deaths have happened in King and Snohomish counties in the larger Seattle area, south of Skagit County, where Anacortes is located.

Purdy said the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) works closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases into Canada at all international ports of entry into Canada, with PHAC responsible for advising the CBSA of any required enhanced measures.

She added all Canadian international airports currently feature enhanced border measures designed “to identify and effectively screen persons” who may be arriving from, or who have visited, the Province of Hubei in China. This screening will soon expand to identify and effectively screen persons who may be arriving from, or who have visited, Iran.

“While there are no additional measures in place at other ports of entry, standard operating procedures with respect to screening travellers for infectious diseases still apply at all ports of entry,” she said. “Travellers arriving in Canada are required to report to a CBSA border services officer if they are ill or may have been exposed to an illness.”

RELATED: Sidney concerned proposed funding cuts to Sidney-Anacortes Ferry could hit tourism

Purdy said border officers are permitted, within their roles as screening officers, to ask travellers any relevant questions. They can also request any information that would help determine whether travellers might have an illness subject to quarantine. The Quarantine Act authorizes screening officers to isolate travellers until PHAC staff members complete the medical assessment of the traveller.

“Should a traveller be seriously ill and in need of immediate medical attention they would be referred to the appropriate local or emergency health authority for medical assessment without delay,” she said.

Heading towards the United States, that country has banned entry of “all aliens” (immigrants, non-immigrants and other non-US citizens) who were physically present in Mainland China, or Iran during the 14-day period before attempting to enter the United States. The ban on “all aliens” includes exceptions for lawful permanent residents, as well as spouses, parents, legal guardians, siblings, and chilren of US citizens or lawful permanent residents, as well as other categories.

The United States is also re-routing all flights carrying persons who have recently travelled from, or were otherwise present in Mainland China or Iran to 11 airports including Seattle-Tacoma “where enhanced public health services and protocols are being implemented.”

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