Province clarifies rules on travel restrictions, checkpoints

Initially, Premier John Horgan announced plans to limit people from travelling outside of their health authority, with random roadside checks and fines for those breaking the rules. However, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth now says there may be periodic roadblocks at places like BC Ferries or on Highway 1 leaving the Lower Mainland, to discourage recreational travel.

The provincial government has attempted to clarify the rules on its restrictions on travel in B.C. as it seeks to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

On Monday (April 19), Premier John Horgan announced plans to limit people from travelling outside of their health authority, with random roadside checks and fines for those breaking the rules.

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However, on Tuesday, Public Safety Minister released a statement clarifying the move.

“We are examining the use of periodic roadblocks only set up at places like BC Ferries or on Highway 1 leaving the Lower Mainland, to discourage recreational travel,” Farnworth said. “There will be no random individual stops. Our intention is to discourage recreational and leisure travel, not punish people, and we are not interested in disrupting commuters and people going about their lives.”

More information on the travel restrictions is expected to be released on Friday, April 23.

The new and extended measures come as a result of growing pressure from hospitalizations due to COVID-19, according to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Data from December 2020 to March 2021 presented on Monday shows hospitalizations are up among multiple age groups, including 20-29 and 50-59, but a steady decline has been seen for those age 70 and older.

Monday's case update reported 441 people in hospital, including 138 in critical care.

Eight further deaths were also reported over the weekend, including a young child less than two years old.

"Although this child had pre-existing health conditions that complicated the illness, it was the virus that caused their death," said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry when reporting the death.

The child lived in the Fraser Health region and was receiving care at BC Children's Hospital.

A total of 2,960 new cases were reported over the three-day weekend period.

By health region, that figure includes 696 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,845 in Fraser Health, 108 in Vancouver Island Health, 211 in Interior Health and 100 in Northern Health.

There are now 9,353 active cases and another 14,711 people are under active public health monitoring and isolating due to exposure to infectious people.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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