Cruise ship season is still scheduled to being on April 3. (Black Press Media file photo)

Cruise ship season is still scheduled to being on April 3. (Black Press Media file photo)

Cruise ships still on track, despite province health officer’s wish to delay season

Fear of COVID-19 spreading via passengers has not yet prompted federal action

Victoria’s first cruise ship of the season is still tentatively scheduled to arrive on April 3.

B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in an announcement Monday that she believes more moves should be made to slow down the incoming cruise ship season.

At a news conference in Victoria, Henry, along with B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, announced the first death of a B.C. resident due to coronavirus.

The man was in his 80s with a number of underlying health concerns; he lived at the Lynn Valley Care Facility in Vancouver. In the same announcement, Henry said the number of coronavirus cases has risen to 32.

Bringing in hundreds of thousands of passengers and crew members from incoming cruise ships starting in April would not be wise, she said.

VIDEO: B.C. records first COVID-19 death in Canada as province hits 32 cases

“We are very aware that the cruise ship season is coming up here in Victoria,” Henry said. “My personal belief right now is we are in a very critical time around the world and it is my belief that we should be delaying our cruise season until we are in a safer place internationally.”

Despite these statements, no official protocol has been put forward.

“For now, we haven’t received any direction from the province or Health Canada that would change our status,” said Brian Cant, manager of communications at the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.

For now, the first call in Victoria is scheduled for April 3 from The Grand Princess cruise ship. The ship is currently being held off of the coast of California as test results come in for passengers suspected of being infected with COVID-19.

– With files from Tom Fletcher

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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