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Province advises against non-essential international travel due to COVID-19

Following a global travel advisory issued by the federal government, B.C. is echoing that advice and cautioning against non-essential travel
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Provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix provides an update on COVID-19 in British Columbia.

The provincial government is reiterating federal advice against international travel as B.C. reports yet another day with more than 500 cases of COVID-19, reversing a slow downward trend that had been seen in the province over the past month.

A global travel advisory was issued by the Government of Canada, effective Dec. 15, due to a rise in cases of COVID-19.

While B.C. has seen an increase in cases, its reporting on the presence of the Omicron variant has so far only identified 44 cases and Delta remains the dominant strain. But in other provinces, such as Ontario, it is expected that Omicron will quickly become the dominant strain of the virus.

Late Wednesday afternoon, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said he agreed with the federal government's advice.

"If it's not necessary, don't go. We're seeing very significant growth in the Omicron variant of concern across the world, and in different parts of Canada, here in B.C., yes, but even more so in other parts of Canada," he said.

Dix also urged caution against travelling within Canada. He did not indicate that travel restrictions would be coming to B.C., but did say that Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will be reviewing current health measures.

The biggest increase has been seen in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, which Dix said has been from case clusters resulting from informal social gatherings there.

"I know many people had been hoping to get a break away from British Columbia at this time of year, but it's also important, I think critical, really, to put your health and the health of the community first," Dix said.