16 more flights added to B.C. COVID-19 list as officials mull domestic travel restrictions
VANCOUVER -- As officials in B.C. and across Canada consider restrictions on domestic travel to slow the spread of COVID-19, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control continues to add recent flights to its growing list of coronavirus exposures.
The BCCDC added 11 flights to the list on Wednesday evening and five more on Thursday. Two dozen flights were added earlier in the week.
Details on the latest additions to the list follow.
- April 1: WestJet flight 290 from Vancouver to Fort St. John (rows 27 to 33)
- April 1: WestJet flight 292 from Vancouver to Fort St. John (rows 24 to 30)
- April 4: WestJet flight 3342 from Calgary to Kelowna (rows one to five)
- April 4: WestJet flight 4475 from Calgary to Kelowna (rows 16 to 22)
- April 5: WestJet flight 171 from Edmonton to Vancouver (rows 17 to 23)
- April 6: Air Canada flight 128 from Vancouver to Toronto (rows one to seven)
- April 6: Air Canada flight 314 from Vancouver to Montreal (rows not reported)
- April 7: Air Canada flight 45 from Delhi to Vancouver (rows 40 to 46)
- April 7: Air Canada/Jazz flight 8550 from Vancouver to Regina (rows 16 to 22)
- April 8: WestJet flight 3110 from Kelowna to Calgary (rows 16 to 22)
- April 8: Air Canada flight 305 from Montreal to Vancouver (rows not reported)
- April 9: WestJet flight 3172 from Comox to Calgary (rows one to seven)
- April 9: WestJet flight 3106 from Terrace to Vancouver (rows 11 to 17)
- April 11: Air Canada flight 202 from Vancouver to Calgary (rows 22 to 28)
- April 11: United Airlines flight 5222 from Vancouver to San Francisco (rows 13 to 19)
- April 12: Air Canada/Jazz flight 8550 from Vancouver to Regina (rows 15 to 21 and unknown)
Anyone who was on any of the flights listed should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, seeking testing and self-isolating if any develop, according to the BCCDC.
Passengers who were seated in the rows listed are considered to be at greater risk because of their proximity to a confirmed case of the coronavirus.
While studies suggest the risk of COVID-19 transmission on airplanes is low, examples of on-board transmission do exist. Moreover, travel between countries and between communities is one of the primary ways in which the coronavirus has spread.
On Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced new restrictions on travel into and out of that province, saying that Ontario has been "losing the battle between vaccines and variants."
Beginning Monday, checkpoints will be set up at Ontario's borders with Quebec and Manitoba. Anyone attempting to enter the province for purposes other than work, medical care, transportation of goods and exercising Indigenous treaty rights will be turned back.
Restrictions on flights into and out of Ontario were not part of Friday's announcement, however.
Currently, international travellers bound for Canada must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed to board their flights. They must take another test after arriving in the country and spend three nights in a government-approved quarantine hotel, part of 14 days of mandatory self-isolation.
Restrictions for domestic travellers are less consistent across the country. Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces require anyone arriving from elsewhere in Canada to self-isolate for 14 days. Other provinces do not require domestic travellers to self-isolate.
Health officials everywhere have been strongly advising against non-essential travel within Canada, and B.C.'s minister of health said Friday that stronger restrictions on domestic travel are possible.
"I don’t think travel restrictions are off the table," said Adrian Dix. "We have taken action on travel restrictions more than any other province. We did it on international travel. We involved the whole public service to do that. We did it way before anyone else, and now we’re being emulated."
"All actions have been on the table and continue to be on the table," he added. "We'll consider what they're doing in Ontario and potentially other options here in B.C."
B.C. health officials do not directly contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 on airplanes. Instead, public exposure notices are posted on the BCCDC website.