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B.C. declares a provincial state of emergency

Last Updated Mar 18, 2020 at 8:51 pm PDT


The legislature will resume on Monday with a reduced number of members to pass legislation

'This is an all-hands-on-deck approach': Farnworth

VANCOUVER – (NEWS 1130) – B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has issued a provincial state of emergency to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

He said the legislature will resume on Monday with a reduced number of members to pass legislation to ensure continuity of government and response to the pandemic.

“COVID-19 is impacting us all,” Farnworth said. “This is an all-hands-on-deck approach.”

The declaration is for two weeks and allows the preservation of supply chains, delivering groceries and other essential items.

Farnworth said it will also mean a quicker, co-ordinated response between federal, provincial and local governments, adding the declaration can be renewed after two weeks.

“We are going to get through this,” he said.

“We are working with partners across government and industry to co-ordinate emergency response efforts, and we won’t hesitate to use the tools available to us to keep people safe,” he added.

The state of emergency follows Tuesday’s declaration of a public health emergency in B.C. over COVID-19.

In Vancouver, Mayor Kennedy Stewart is convening a special virtual council meeting on Thursday aimed at getting support for the declaration of a local state of emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stewart says the measure would allow the city to take action against people who are hoarding.

It would also let the city act on businesses that have remained open when they should be closed to prevent the spread of the disease.

The first death from COVID-19 in Quebec was reported Wednesday, the ninth in Canada related to coronavirus, including seven in B.C. and one in Ontario.