New health screening measures at YVR for arrivals from Iran

Mar 2 2020, 5:48 pm

Border staff at Vancouver International Airport will ask new health screening questions about travel to Iran, provincial health officials said Monday.

Anyone who has visited the Middle Eastern country within two weeks of arriving in Canada will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days, Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry said.

Border officers have already been asking international arrivals whether they’ve travelled to China’s Hubei province, where the novel coronavirus outbreak started. Beginning Tuesday, March 2, border officers will also ask passengers whether they’ve travelled to Iran in the last two weeks.

All passengers who answer yes will be taken aside to speak with a Canada Border Services Agency agent. They’ll need to answer questions about whether they’re experiencing symptoms, and if they are, they’ll be quarantined at Richmond Hospital, Henry said.

All travellers who have visited Iran will be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days, even if they’re not showing symptoms, she added.

This follows several cases of coronavirus in Canada tied to travel to Iran.

BC will not be implementing any additional health screening measures at its land border with Washington State, where six people have died from the virus in recent days.

“We’re treating Washington State as we would the province of Ontario,” Henry said. “They have a small number of cases that are localized … and we have confidence in that system.”

She added people who have travelled to Washington State don’t need to contact public health unless they’re experiencing symptoms.

Worldwide, there are nearly 90,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 3,000 people have died from it, according to the World Health Organization. It’s believed the virus jumped from an animal host to a human in late 2019 during a chance encounter at a market in Wuhan, China.