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B.C. health minister urges feds to include Americans in virus travel ban

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Mar 16, 2020 at 2:44 pm PDT

FILE - Health Minister wants American tourists to stay away from B.C. given what's happening just south of our border. (ADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Summary

Dix wants American tourists to stay away given what's happening just south of our border

New federal restrictions allow U.S. citizens to cross our border

Trudeau cited the close relationship between Canada and the U.S. for the reason behind the exception

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – B.C.’s health minister wants the federal government to reconsider the travel restriction exemption given to American citizens entering the country.

This comes as Ottawa imposes a global travel ban aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

”While we are very strongly supportive of those changes, we note, we remain concerned that access from visitors from the United States continues to be allowed,” Dix said Monday in Victoria.

He wants American tourists to stay away given what’s happening just south of our border.

“Given the situation, particularly in King and Snohomish counties and Washington state, which affects British Columbia more than anywhere else, it is our strong view, and our strong message that visitors from the United States not come to British Columbia,” Dix added.

Earlier Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced only Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be allowed entry into the country as COVID-19 continues to spread.

The federal government is taking “increasingly aggressive steps to keep Canadians safe” by denying entry to anyone who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, with some exceptions, including diplomats, air crews, and immediate family of citizens, and U.S. citizens.

The prime minister cited the close relationship between Canada and the U.S. for the reason behind the exception for American citizens.

There will also be new travel restrictions, with only four airports — Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver — accepting international flights. And anyone who shows symptoms of coronavirus will not be able to return to Canada, added Trudeau. An assistance program is being developed for travellers needing to come home.

The federal travel restrictions start Wednesday.