UBC President Santa Ono has released a statement saying he travelled to the US in December after his mother was hospitalized.
The statement comes at a time when many politicians and officials have been scrutinized for travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite guidance from the Canadian government to not do so.
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Ono says that in late 2020, his mother was taken to hospital via ambulance in her home city of Baltimore. He flew to Baltimore on December 10 for a four-day trip and self-quarantined for 14-days upon return.
“Since my mother and father, who is 93, live alone, I was concerned about their welfare. There is no one in my extended family who lives in Baltimore and was able to provide support for them,” he stated.
Ono says he “carefully weighed the decision to travel and out of concern for my parents, made the decision to proceed with the trip.”
He says he followed all COVID-19 guidelines during his time away and when returning to Canada.
“I felt it was important to travel at that time. This trip was not a vacation.”
“As president of UBC, I am grateful to the many public health professionals and researchers, both at UBC and beyond, who are working hard behind the scenes and on the front lines to protect us from COVID-19,” he stated. “I remain committed to doing my part to help bring an end to this global pandemic.”