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500 recent travellers in B.C. visited by local police to ensure quarantine rules are followed

Last Updated Apr 29, 2020 at 7:08 pm PDT

FILE - B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix has expressed frustration at the lack of federal action instructing and following up with people returning to Canada. (Hana Mae Nassar, NEWS 1130 Photo)

500 people who recently returned from travelling outside of BC have had a visit from police

Ravi Kahlon, MLA for North Delta, says the move was made after his office was unable to get a hold of the travellers

He says it's a reminder to people that they have to be open and transparent with the province amid the COVID-19 pandemic

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Some travellers who recently arrived back to BC have had to be tracked down by police, ensuring they are in quarantine.

Ravi Kahlon is the MLA for North Delta, he says his office has been trying to contact 500 recent travellers and those who ignored the calls were visited by police.

“We have them on our list, we have their self-isolation plans but they won’t return our calls when B.C service staff call them to see if they are following their plan,” he says. “We try a couple of times and then we have to call local police to go knock on their doors and let them know that we mean business.”

Kahlon says while the police just issued a verbal reminder, travellers need to follow the rules and must quarantine following travel outside the province.

“Overwhelmingly, when that happens, people understand and have fully cooperated,” Kahlon says. “We haven’t had any challenges beyond that, but we have had to have local police go and knock on their door and let them know, this is not a call that you can be missing.”

He adds things have been going relatively smoothly since Premier John Horgan revealed new measures requiring any person travelling to B.C to have a quarantine plan, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve had thousands of people come through both on land and via YVR,” he says. “We’ve got about 96 people that are in quarantine at this time, and the number fluctuates as people come up with their plans and new people arrive.”

While some may question the use of police resources, Kahlon says the decision is being made in the interest of public safety, and to ensure the spread of the virus is addressed.

“It’s like a warning flash house call, we just want to make sure that people understand that this is serious,” he says. “The premier has made it clear that these measures at the airport it’s our firewall and that’s going to help us ensure that we can start getting the economy back going and getting people back to work. And so we need to make sure people returning are following that.”

He adds some travellers are exhibiting symptoms of the virus, and are staying in isolation as they await testing.

“We’ve seen about 26 people who have a home self-isolating, who when we call to see if they’re doing okay, have reported some symptoms,” Kahlon says. “So we are catching people who are potentially sick with COVID through this process.”