Adrian Dix lobbies feds for increased airport screening

More airport screening: Dix

Health Minister Adrian Dix has urged the federal government to beef up COVID-19 screening at borders and airports.

During his daily press conference Friday, Dix said it's important to ensure people coming to Canada are adequately screened upon their return, and their 14-day quarantine is enforced.

“We're continuing to work with the federal government to press them to ensure that when people come to British Columbia, come to Canada, from outside of the country, that the Quarantine Act measures are put in place effectively,” he said.

“We should see no diminution, it seems to me, in the response that we've seen in previous returns of people, for example from cruise ships.

“We need to actively follow up with cases, we need access to the full information when people come to Canada. The B.C. health system needs that access to full information from the government of Canada and we need stronger action.”

Dix said the federal and provincial governments are working at creating more quarantine space at airports. He said there needs to be stronger screening when travellers arrive in Canada, but also at their departing airports.

“Whether they're coming from Seattle or whether they're coming from overseas, we obviously need more stronger screening at that point,” he said. “Because we need to ensure that people who are sick get well where they are before they travel.”

In Kelowna, daily flights from Seattle continue to land, but travel is restricted to Canadian citizens, along with others deemed “essential.”

Dix added it would be unacceptable for people entering the country to transmit the virus at this time, given the sacrifice that British Columbians are making to reduce the spread at home.

There are currently 1,174 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia, with 126 cases in the Interior Health region. Province-wide, 146 patients are being treated in hospital, 12 of whom are in the Interior Health region.

Dix emphasized the importance of the 14-day quarantine for those who return from travelling.

“That will require ... the support of the community, because we need individuals where necessary to support by dropping off foods, so when people come to airports they don't go to Save-On, they don't go to Safeway, they don't go to Costco. They go home and they stay home,” he said.

“That's going to require a lot of action and support of those individuals to go through that period of self isolation but it will require a much stronger, robust presence at borders and at airports.”

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