2 dozen more B.C. flights added to COVID-19 exposure list, bringing total for week to 48
VANCOUVER -- The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has added 24 flights to its list of COVID-19 exposures since Wednesday night.
The centre added six flights on Wednesday, 12 on Friday and six more on Saturday, for a total of 48 flights added to the list over the course of the week.
Seven of the 24 most recent additions to the list are flights from Delhi to Vancouver that landed before Canada imposed a ban on flights from India and Pakistan amid a surge in coronavirus variants there.
Since April 10, there have been 19 international flights bound for Vancouver that had COVID-19 cases on board. Twelve of those were from Delhi. Although leaders in Metro Vancouver’s large South Asian community have said they support the temporary ban as a matter of public safety, there is widespread concern that the move will fuel anti-South Asian racism.
Details of the most recent additions to the exposure list follow.
- April 8: Swoop flight 204 from Abbotsford to Edmonton (rows not reported)
- April 10: Air Canada flight 241 from Edmonton to Vancouver (rows 28 to 34)
- April 10: Air Canada/Jazz flight 8622 from Vancouver to Winnipeg (rows 20 to 26)
- April 12: Air Canada/Jazz flight 8622 from Vancouver to Winnipeg (rows 19 to 25)
- April 13: Air Canada flight 306 from Vancouver to Montreal (rows 27 to 32)
- April 14: WestJet flight 3109 from Calgary to Nanaimo (rows five to 18)
- April 14: Swoop flight 201 from Edmonton to Abbotsford (rows 20 to 26)
- April 14: Air Canada flight 45 from Delhi to Vancouver (rows one to six, 12 to 14, 18 to 28 and 41 to 46)
- April 14: WestJet flight 3171 from Calgary to Comox (rows 14 to 20)
- April 15: Air Canada/Jazz flight 8398 from Vancouver to Kelowna (rows one to seven)
- April 16: Air Canada flight 215 from Calgary to Vancouver (rows 13 to 19)
- April 16: Sunwing flight 2860 from Mexico City to Vancouver (rows 16 to 22)
- April 16: WestJet flight 3287 from Vancouver to Prince George (rows one to seven)
- April 17: Air Canada flight 45 from Delhi to Vancouver (rows 20 to 30 and 34 to 40)
- April 18: Air India flight 185 from Delhi to Vancouver (rows 20 to 24 and 42 to 46)
- April 18: WestJet flight 4442 from Calgary to Kelowna (rows 11 to 17)
- April 18: Air Canada flight 123 from Toronto to Vancouver (rows 19 to 25)
- April 18: Air Canada flight 45 from Delhi to Vancouver (rows 18 to 34 and 54 to 60)
- April 19: Air Canada flight 127 from Toronto to Vancouver (rows 24 to 30)
- April 19: Air India flight 185 from Delhi to Vancouver (rows 19 to 25)
- April 20: Air Canada flight 241 from Edmonton to Vancouver (rows 21 to 27)
- April 20: Air Canada/Jazz flight 8261 from Vancouver to Nanaimo (rows three to nine)
- April 21: Air Canada flight 45 from Delhi to Vancouver (rows 12 to 14, 23 to 30 and 32 to 46)
- April 21: Air Canada flight 185 from Delhi to Vancouver (rows not reported)
Anyone who was on any of the listed flights 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.
Since mid-March, the number of notifications about flights with COVID-19 cases on board appears to have increased significantly. CTV News Vancouver asked the BCCDC whether this is a concern in its own right or primarily a reflection of the surge in cases across Canada during the pandemic's third wave.
The agency provided the following statement:
"BCCDC does not have readily available data to determine whether the proportion of cases on flights has increased or whether the increase is a result of the total number of flights and passengers travelling. It is likely that the incidence of cases on board planes would be proportional to the incidence and transmission occurring where the plane originated."
While travel is a significant source of COVID-19 transmission globally, the BCCDC said the majority of cases in B.C. are the result of transmission from a known case or cluster already present in the province, rather than from those arriving on airplanes.
Studies have shown that coronavirus transmission on airplanes is rare, though there are examples of it happening.
While international travellers are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arriving in Canada, B.C. has not imposed such a requirement on domestic travellers. However, health officials strongly discourage non-essential travel within Canada.
B.C. also recently imposed new restrictions on travel between health authorities within the province. Those found violating the new order can be subject to $575 fines, though details on how the order will be enforced have so far not been announced.
Health officials in B.C. do not directly contact everyone who was on a plane with a case of COVID-19 on board. Instead, exposure notifications are published on the BCCDC website.