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Stiffer penalties for rule breakers part of B.C.'s new COVID-19 approach

FILE - Health Minister Adrian Dix. (Courtesy B.C. Government, Flickr)
Summary

B.C. is gearing up to roll out stricter penalties for those who ignore public health guidelines

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the various ministries have been meeting this week to map out new enforcement

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Following B.C.’s largest single-day case count since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the province is preparing to roll out stricter penalties for those who ignore public health guidelines.

During the latest COVID-19 update Monday, Health Minister Adrian Dix said the various ministries have been meeting this week to map out “a more comprehensive approach to increase enforcement”, which will include municipalities, police departments, and WorkSafeBC.

“We cannot let a few wreck it for everybody else, and that is the reason why action is being taken,” Dix says.

The province recorded 236 new COVID-19 cases between Friday and Sunday, including a one day spike of 100 cases, the highest since the pandemic began.

RELATED: Some Canadians ignore COVID-19 rules as Metro Vancouver sees weekend of parties, gatherings

While rowdy outdoor gatherings in Vancouver drew headlines over the weekend, Dix says the bigger concern remains large, private gatherings held indoors.

“We are continuing to review what can be done about those, and continuing to engage with people and discourage people from hosting such gatherings.”

The new enforcement regime will take effect later this week, and some of the details will be detailed by BC Solicitor General Mike Farnworth in the days ahead.

Young adults who don’t know they’re infected responsible for spread: WHO

Comments from World Health Organization officials Tuesday mirror those from Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Reka Gustafson the day before: most of those testing positive for COVID-19 are young adults, who may not realize they have COVID-19 before they spread it to others.

Just like in B.C., large gatherings are prompting concerns from health authorities worldwide.

In Wuhan, China — once the epicentre of the pandemic — images of thousands crammed into a water park for an electronic music festival emerged over the weekend.

“We are seeing young people who are ending up in ICU, and we are seeing young people who are dying from this virus,” says Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist with the WHO.

“Everyone on this planet, the decisions that you are making, are [about] protecting yourself. Your life depends on this.”

Van Kerkhove cautions, however, against blaming people for wanting to live their lives and return to a sense of normalcy.

“I think we just need to make sure that the messages that are getting out, particularly to young people, particularly to children and young adults, [are] that you are not invincible to this virus.”