As Canadian travellers are brought home from around the globe, B.C.’s health minister has some sharp words for those considering disobeying the federally mandated 14-day self-isolation period.
“There can be no ambiguity about this fact,” Health Minister Adrian Dix told reporters during a daily health briefing on Wednesday (April 1).
“It would be, I think, a real betrayal of the people in your community to not follow those rules.”
The federal government has been repatriating travellers stranded overseas due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including those stuck on cruise ships, as well as in Wuhan, China, the intitial epicentre of the novel coronavirus.
In recent days, more flights have brought Canadian citizens back from Africa, parts of Europe, India, the Middle East and Peru. Thousands are registered with Global Affairs Canada, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that not all will be able to come home.
Under the Quarantine Act, federal Health Minister Patty Hadju has ordered every person arriving in Canada, with the exception of essential workers, be subject to a mandatory two weeks of self-isolation.
Currently, international flights are landing only in Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Toronto.
To ensure people follow the rules, Hadju said the government would collect contact information for non-essential travellers upon arrival.
“This is the time we have to be 100 per cent all in, on all the measures,” Dix said.
In mid-February, most of the confirmed cases in B.C. were classified as “import cases,” which meant that the virus was likely contracted while a person was outside of Canada and then transmitted to others that had close contact with them.
But by March, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry had confirmed there was a notable trend in the kinds of confirmed cases being tested in B.C., becoming what is known as “community cases” or those that don’t stem directly from a recent traveller.
Dix pointed to those stats and said it is crucial for British Columbians to continue following the orders made under the provincial and federal declarations in order to flatten the curve of cases in the province.
As of Wednesday, there were 436 active confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in B.C.