While there was no press conference from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix today, there were a number of COVID-19 updates from both the federal government and health authorities in other provinces.
As of the writing of this article, there were no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in BC according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. The provincial total remains at 73, while the nationwide total is 304.
In a press conference today, however, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam stressed that all residents of Canada needed to take “strong action” to slow the spread of the virus.
“With cases rapidly increasing in Canada, particularly in British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta, our window to flatten the curve of the epidemic is narrow. We all need to act now,” she said.
“For the public, this means postpone or cancel all travel outside of Canada that is not absolutely essential. I am also asking that you avoid all large public gatherings and increase your personal physical space from others.”
In a separate press conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government would not rule out the possibility of travel restrictions to slow the spread of the virus.
Tam’s call for Canadian residents to take social distancing measures seriously came on the same day that Quebec Premier Francois Legault asked bars, movie theatres and other public spaces in the province to close. He also asked restaurants to reduce their capacity by 50 per cent.
In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney said in a press conference that authorities believe the province has reached “an inflection point” in the spread of the virus, as it reported 17 new confirmed cases since Saturday.
Tam reiterated that travellers returning to Canada from abroad should self-isolate for 14 days, not merely self-monitor. She also emphasized that young people should not consider themselves immune from the impact of the pandemic and should act accordingly.
“While this disease is particularly serious for older adults and medically vulnerable people, all ages are at risk,” Tam said. “This is our chance, right here and right now. We need to act now and act together.”
Stay up to date on UBC information related to COVID-19 by visiting ubyssey.ca/covid-19, the websites of the BCCDC, the Public Health Agency of Canada or the World Health Organization. For updates on UBC’s response to COVID-19, visit ubc.ca/campus-notifications/