A prohibition on non-essential travel in BC will remain in place “for the next two weeks at least,” said Premier John Horgan on Wednesday morning.
Horgan made the comments during a press conference, in which he stated that he would also be reaching out to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “to discuss a pan-Canadian approach to travel.”
“We need to make sure that people in Coquitlam are living under the same rules as people in Chicoutimi (Quebec),” he said. “We need to make sure that those who want to come to British Columbia must only do so if it is essential for their business or their well-being.”
No matter where people live in the country, Horgan said that at this point in the pandemic, “people need to stay where they are, and I’m encouraging the prime minister to take this opportunity to work with all of us. I’m confident that he will. Just say broadly to all Canadians: ‘Just stay where you live.'”
Horgan clarified he is not asking the federal government “to impose anything on any other jurisdiction in Canada,” though. Rather, he’s asking them “to work with us and other provincial governments to get the message out that if you do not have to travel between jurisdictions you shouldn’t do so.”
Right now, said Horgan, “is not the time to go storm watching on the west coast of Vancouver Island or plan for a large gathering of friends over the Christmas holidays.”
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Horgan’s comments come a day after BC health officials reported highest single-day case count of COVID-19 in the province on Tuesday, with 717 new cases.
In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that broken down by health region, the new cases equate to 177 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 484 in the Fraser Health region, 16 in the Island Health region, 18 in the Interior Health region, 21 in the Northern Health region, and one new case of a person who resides outside of Canada.
There are 6,589 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 10,960 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.
“We have seen an increase in new cases on Vancouver Island, in the Interior and in the North, many of which are connected to travel to and from the Lower Mainland,” said Henry. “That is why it is important that we stay local and travel less right now.”