BC declares public health emergency with 83 new confirmed COVID-19 cases

Friday, 20 Mar, 2020

"Normally where people may have got an emergency fill in the past, they typically would give you a very short term supply until you could go see your doctor", he said.

Restaurants and cafes, as well as other businesses, are allowed to remain open as long as customers and staff maintain one or two metres pf physical distance between people.

The province declared a public health emergency and ordered all bars and nightclubs to close. "We need you to join in and we need you to do it now, today, this moment, without judgment".

"These are extraordinary times and we took a number of extraordinary measures in the last few days to try to do everything that we can to stop the transmission of the virus in our communities", said Henry.

"This declaration enables the provincial health officer to facilitate an even faster response to the rapidly changing situation and enact further measures to protect British Columbians, such as enforcement of orders limiting public gatherings of 50 people or more".

"We can help prepare ourselves for the weeks and potentially months to come", Dix said. Health-care workers, hospital patients, vulnerable people, and those with serious symptoms have been the priority.

Dix offered condolences to the seven families who have lost loved ones to the pandemic.

Asked about rationing food, the minister said the province's food supply chains are in "good shape" and that he is generally getting co-operation from the public that he expects to continue. "This is truly another sombre day".

Henry added a new case has occurred at Haro Park, a downtown Vancouver care home. He said all students who are on course to graduate from Grade 12, and those progressing to the next grade, will do so. "We will return to regular school life down the road".

"It's an expectation of everybody that comes into the province", she said.

"I understand people's concerns about wanting to make sure that they have enough supplies at home if they have to self-isolate", he said.

He said the province is waiting for the final details of the federal government's plan expected on March 18 before it releases its approach. He also said the legislature will be reconvened on Monday with only a dozen members present to pass employment-standards legislation aimed at helping workers as well as legislation to facilitate the operation of government.

"I want to ensure our government is doing everything possible to address this crisis", Farnworth said, in announcing the two week emergency.

The college says it is working closely with the Ministry of Health and other partners "to support the response to this new illness as part of B.C.'s health system".