B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry work on their daily report on the COVID-19 pandemic at the B.C. legislature, April 2, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry work on their daily report on the COVID-19 pandemic at the B.C. legislature, April 2, 2020. (B.C. government)

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

As B.C.’s new cases of COVID-19 coronavirus continue to slow, Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry have issued warnings that people should not make travel and gathering plans for the Easter long weekend.

With Passover and Ramadan also approaching, Premier John Horgan took part in a second call with 130 religious leaders around the province April 7, to reinforce the need to avoid physical gatherings. The province announced 25 new positive tests, bringing the total for B.C. to 1,291, with 805 fully recovered.

“So let’s bend the curve, not bend the rules this weekend,” Dix said at the province’s daily COVID-19 briefing at the B.C. legislature.

Henry appealed directly to religious people who are entering a season of significant dates of observance, with religious leaders around the world adapting to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The followers and congregations around British Columbia, please, now is our time that we need to pay special attention to our elders and seniors,” Henry said. “We protect them by connecting safely from a distance.”

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Small communities with seasonal cabins have already seen an early influx of visitors and vacationers, taxing health care resources and grocery stores that aren’t prepared for summer visitors at this time of year.

Asked if she would order the B.C. border closed to Albertans coming to holiday homes in popular destinations like the Kootenays and Okanagan, Henry said: “It’s not something I believe I have the authority to do, to be honest, and it’s not something that I believe is necessary at this point.”

Alberta has similar concerns about interprovincial travel and health officials across the country continue to discuss that and other priorities, she said.


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