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)

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

Mainly clear and sunny skies are expected for the Okanagan-Shuswap region this week. (Maxpixels photo)
Warm, sunny week ahead in Okanagan-Shuswap

Daytime highs will reach the low 20s with mainly clear skies this week

The City of Penticton will offer large item garbage collection later this month. (Black Press file photo)
Penticton to offer large item garbage collection

Items will be collected April 19 to 23

These nails were collected off the Campbell Mountain bike trails in Penticton this weekend. Someone placed them all over the trail. (Facebook)
Hundreds of nails placed on popular Penticton bike trail

A mountain biker took to Facebook to warn others about the nails

Chrystina Barnard, owner of Lucky’s Pet Supply, has made it her mission to visit as many patios in Penticton as a way to promote restaurants. Here she is enjoying an eggs benny with her best fur friend at Loki’s Garage in Penticton. (Facebook)
Penticton foodie commits to 19-day patio crawl to promote local restaurants

The small business owner wanted to help out eateries hurt by the new restrictions

Flight with COVID
Another Kelowna flight with COVID-19 exposure

Westjet flight on April 5 from Kelowna to Edmonton

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

Interior Health improves access to mental health supports amid COVID-19 pandemic. (Stock)
Interior Health connects people to mental health resources amid COVID

310-MHSU line receives positive feedback in early months of rollout

Construction has begun on Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project, with lengthy closures on the way. (Claire Palmer photo)
Construction has begun on Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project, with lengthy closures planned for the next four weeks. (Claire Palmer photo)
24-hour Trans-Canada closures begin east of Golden

It’s the final phase of the Kicking Horse Canyon construction project, which is realigning and widneing the higwya

A volunteer disinfects a historical Mohabat Khan mosque ahead of the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
For Canadian Muslims, second pandemic Ramadan is a time of hope and sadness

Many members of the association are trying to find ways ‘to help people stay connected to one another’

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra performed Exsultate, a live-streamed all-Mozart concert, on April 10. (Contributed)
REVIEW: Okanagan Symphony Orchestra exalts in Mozart

Live-streamed, all-Mozart concert was held on April 10

South Surrey farmland, March 2020. The province’s crackdown on secondary residences sparked protests that have the NDP government engaged in a lengthy rewrite of its legislation. (Tracy Holmes/Peace Arch News)
B.C. NDP now wants to keep even ‘non-farmers’ on the land

‘Grandfathering’ of second residences extended again

Clarence Fulton is the latest in six Vernon schools to have COVID-19 exposures. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID-19 exposures at six Vernon schools

List has grown over the last week, sending more students home for self-isolation

RCMP did not commit offense in arrest which seriously injured Lake Country man, finds IIO. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
No criminality suspected in sudden death in Vernon

Police responded to reports of a body near an Anderson Way business Sunday

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive during a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus. It is now the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks’ return to practice pushed back as player added to COVID protocol list

COVID outbreak has led to eight games being cancelled

Most Read