Police have had to follow up with house visits to 500 travellers for evading calls from B.C. officials checking in to make sure they are self-isolating as per provincial and federal orders.
According to North Delta MLA Ravi Kahlon, more than 14,500 people have returned to B.C. since April 15 – either by arriving at Vancouver International Airport or through various land borders.
Of those, 96 people are currently in quarantine at nearby hotels, Kahlon said on Wednesday (April 29). Twenty-six people have developed symptoms related to COVID-19.
Amid a growing number of community transmissions of the novel coronavirus in B.C., the province announced on April 8 that all incoming travellers would need to have a written self-isolation plan prepared which would be presented to border security staff.
It’s been two weeks since Premier @jjhorgan announced 🇨🇦returning must have a self isolation plan.
🚙 Land Passengers: 8,563
✈️ Air Passenger Arrivals: 6,064
🏨 Ppl currently in quarantine : 96
☎️ Follow up Calls: 8,900
🤧 ppl who developed symptoms: 26 pic.twitter.com/g0zGtwmfsC
— Ravi kahlon (@KahlonRav) April 29, 2020
If the plan was not suitable or met standards set out by health officials, the travellers would be placed under mandatory quarantine at hotels provided by the federal government.
Ministerial staff have made 8,900 follow-up calls to check in on travellers with plans that allowed them to return to their own homes to self isolate for the necessary 14 days.
During a Tuesday news conference, Premier John Horgan said a majority of travellers are arriving with a plan.
“They were approved by the federal and provincial governments and they went about their business, spent their two weeks in self-isolation and now can continue limited interactions with the broader community,” he said.
The RCMP has been tasked Public Health Agency of Canada to help enforce the Quarantine Act Order, which was declared by the federal Health Minister Patty Hadju on March 25.
Those who violate the order face fines up to $750,000 and six months in prison, while “willfully or recklessly contravening this Act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment of up to three years, or to both,” the RCMP warned.
Police said that arrests would be a last resort “based on the circumstances and the officer’s risk assessment.” Instead, the officer can issue those charged with a notice or summons requiring them to appear in court.