Coronavirus: B.C.’s top doctor says some essential workers not isolating following U.S. travel

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday she is aware of a number of cases involving essential workers who are not isolating upon return from a trip to the U.S.

She said the workers, including medical officials, said they had travelled to the U.S. for a vacation and then returned to Canada as normal.

“I will also remind people who have travelled, whether you’re Canadians who’ve come back to B.C. from traveling in the U.S. or anywhere outside of Canada that you are — even if you are an essential worker — you still must obey our concerns around making sure that you obey the quarantine order in self-isolation,” Henry said.

She said she has become aware of people who have travelled to the U.S. and who did not believe they were subject to the requirements to self-isolate when they came back.

“That is not correct,” Henry added.

Since March 25, 2020 it has been mandatory under the Quarantine Act for anyone arriving in B.C. from outside Canada to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon their arrival.

They must also complete and register a self-isolation plan.

Read more: Coronavirus: 7 more B.C. flights added to growing list of possible exposure

Henry is calling on the public to play it safe over the B.C. Day long weekend and help prevent a second surge in COVID-19 cases.

She made the plea at a live briefing Thursday as she announced 29 new cases of the virus and no new deaths.

Stricter rules are also on the way for Americans entering Canada who say they are headed to Alaska, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

As of Friday, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will require additional entry conditions and only allow such travellers to enter at one of five crossings: Abbotsford-Huntingdon (British Columbia), Kingsgate (British Columbia), Osoyoos (British Columbia), Coutts (Alberta), and North Portal (Saskatchewan).

0:48 Crackdown on Americans using ‘Alaska loophole’ to enter Canada

Crackdown on Americans using ‘Alaska loophole’ to enter Canada

Read more: ‘Our COVID summer’: B.C.’s top doctor urges caution over B.C. Day long weekend

Drivers will be allowed a reasonable period of stay to make the transit but will be limited to travel within Canada using the most direct route from the point of entry to the intended point of exit in Alaska.

They will be barred from driving through national parks, leisure sites and tourism locations, the agency said Thursday.

Drivers will need to inform the closest CBSA official before leaving Canada for re-entry into the United States in Alaska.

-with files from Simon Little and Richard Zussman

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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