Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan meet in Vancouver, Aug. 29, 2019. (B.C. government)

B.C. calls on Trudeau to tighten border crossings for COVID-19

John Horgan asks for ferry passengers to stay in their cars

B.C. Premier John Horgan has called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to increase federal restrictions on airports and border crossings, to help stem the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Horgan was on conference call with Trudeau and other premiers Friday, replacing a first ministers’ meeting in Ottawa that was moved to phone lines after Trudeau declared he is in self-isolation after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. B.C. has identified more than 50 cases, but in recent days the concern has been infection risk from the U.S., rather than the original hotspots of China and Iran.

Airports, land border crossings and the Seattle-Victoria ferry service are “where we want the federal government to up their game,” Horgan told reporters.

Horgan said B.C. Ferries has asked for “lenience” on Transport Canada regulations requiring passengers to leave vehicles parked on lower decks. That has not been granted, but Trudeau assured him he would take that up with Transport Canada.

On Friday, Via Rail, which offers train routes across the country, announced it would be cancelling overnight trains until further notice.

RELATED: Canada to ban larger cruise ships from docking until July

RELATED: Retired B.C. doctors standing by to help with coronvirus

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Friday that returning travellers do not need to request a coronavirus test if they don’t have symptoms. If they self-isolate for 14 days and do not experience cough, fever or shortness of breath, they should consider themselves well.

“This test is not necessarily valid for people who are not sick,” Henry said.

Health Minister Adrian Dix also emphasized the rules for testing, as reports came in of people converging on walk-in clinics seeking COVID-19 tests.

“You can’t get tested unless you’re referred, and you don’t need testing unless you have symptoms,” Dix said.

Henry said this week’s travel advisory to stay in Canada if possible does not apply to people who need to cross the border for their jobs, such as truckers and flight crews, who should have their own systems for hygiene and checking themselves for symptoms.

Horgan used the national meeting to ask for enhanced Employment Insurance sickness benefits to cover a larger portion of a person’s income while they are self-isolating or are in quarantine for COVID-19 exposure.

Horgan also wants EI benefits temporarily extended to workers who currently don’t meet EI qualifications, such as people who are self-employed. He said B.C. is working on its own small business assistance effort for people who have to stop work or lose work due to cancellation of sports and other events.

“We want to make sure that we get a stimulus to protect those small businesses, to protect those employees,” Horgan said. “People think about the Canucks season being suspended, and the consequences to those people who work in concessions, who derive their income from events, from hospitality, from tourism.”


@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

Visitor to Kamloops army club tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The individual visited Anavets 290 Army and Navy Club between March 13 and March 17

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

A grateful community

Another community convoy to thank health care workers is planned for April 5

Forestry Ink: Introduced, not invasive species

Columnist Jim Hilton writes about animals that are considered invasive

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

How to cope with your mental health during a global pandemic

Becca Shears, clinical counsellor in Vanderhoof speaks about ways to deal with stress and anxiety during this time.

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

Most Read