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

Nakusp businesses struggle to stay afloat during COVID-19 crisis

One local business has reported a 90 per cent loss in sales over last month

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘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

Nakusp store launches delivery service by donation for those in need during COVID-19 crisis

Hilltop Convenience Store has been getting up to three calls a day for the service

Castlegar hospice director says COVID-19 measures make serving the dying heartbreaking

Social distancing brings big challenges to offering support

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read