Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, said she had hopes back in March that COVID-19 would be managed worldwide before it became a widespread global pandemic.
“I had some hopes then, and they have been dashed, that we might be able to actually control it globally and stop the outbreak…but that is no longer a reality,” Dr. Henry said.
She said the province has been able to flatten the curve but stressed that some public health measures will remain in place for some time.
“That is going to be our reality, in my opinion, for the next months until we have an effective treatment or a vaccine,” Dr. Henry said.
B.C.’s provincial health officer said she supports restrictions to recreational travel between Canada and the U.S., particularly as cases continue to surge among Americans.
“They’ve had record numbers and unfortunately what we’re starting to see are what we call the lag indicators, the hospitalizations and the deaths now starting to increase, even though many of the cases are in younger people,” Dr. Henry said.
“I don’t believe that there’s any reason that we would expect to be able to safely have visitors, people who are here as tourists, in the coming weeks and months.”
Dr. Henry added she is also concerned about people travelling with symptoms between Canadian provinces.
“These are things that cause me great consternation,” she said. “All the airlines need to have processes in place to screen out people but we need to be honest about it.”
“Part of that means if we are not feeling well, we need to have the ability to postpone or change our flights.”
B.C.’s provincial health officer said airlines also have to ensure that they collect thorough, accurate information for all travellers so public health officials can efficiently contact anyone who has been within rows of someone who develops COVID-19 symptoms after a flight.