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YVR responds to screening criticism amid novel coronavirus pandemic

Last Updated Mar 16, 2020 at 1:25 pm PDT

(Hana Mae Nassar, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Vancouver International Airport reacts to recent criticism levelled against it about screening amid COVID-19 outbreak

YVR says it is following all direction, procedures from Public Health Agency of Canada

The airport is waiting for more direction, will be ramping up cleaning measures in the meantime

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver International Airport insists it is following the recommended procedures to screen arriving passengers following online criticism amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some passengers have been complaining about what they consider a lack of information about COVID-19 upon their arrival to the airport. Olympian Clara Hughes and Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West have also called out the airport, saying it isn’t doing enough to limit the spread of the virus.

“If the rest of us are doing our part, they better get it together at the airport,” said West in a tweet.

The Chief Medical Health Officer of the Canadian Olympic Team came through YVR from Monaco on Friday and said he was only asked if he had been to Iran, China, or South Korea.

“That was the interesting thing at YVR, I wasn’t asked any questions at all. In fact, I was surprised at how little there was being asked at that stage,” Dr. Michael Wilkinson said.

In a recorded statement, the Vice President of Operations, Robyn McVicker, said the airport takes its direction about screening from Canada’s health agency.

“Like all Canadian airports, YVR follows the direction of the Public Health Agency of Canada, or PHAC. They are responsible for decisions and the implementation of health-related screenings at Canada’s border crossings,” she explained.

RELATED: Canada Border Services respond to Canadians’ COVID-19 outbreak concerns

McVicker said there are additional screening measures on the way, “including a plan to restrict the number of airports that can receive international traffic. We’re in constant contact with the federal government and our agency partners, and we’re looking forward to more direction so we can implement that.”

In the meantime, she said the airport is being wiped down by an enhanced cleaning team and has hand sanitizers in high- traffic areas.

On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated further screening measures were about to be implemented at all international airports in Canada, including limiting the number of airports allowed to accept international flights.

With files from Sportsnet