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Bowen Island couple races home from Mexico while they still can
VANCOUVER -- If there’s one word to describe how Jack and Soorya Resels feel, it’s relieved.
“I felt good to be back in Canada,” Jack Resels said as they entered a nearly empty Vancouver airport international arrivals hall on Tuesday morning.
The couple, who live on Bowen Island, said they were watching the coronavirus pandemic closely with concern from Mexico, where they’d been traveling for six weeks.
And when they heard the prime minister’s call Monday for all Canadians to return home, and his plan to block anyone who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms from flying to Canada, they knew their trip was over.
“We just really understand that we need to take precautions and do what needs to be done,” Soorya Resels said.
For now, that means self-monitoring in isolation at home for the next 14 days, and following instructions from B.C. health officials. Both say they plan to take it seriously.
“People are listening more than I ever heard them listen,” Soorya Resels said. “And I think it makes a difference.”
The couple live in a community, they say, where neighbours already look out for one another. They’ve been promised hot soup and a stocked pantry.
The Resels say instead of practising their Spanish, they’ll now be reading, meditating and practicing yoga, and might be able to go for some walks together in the wilderness.
And they may be among the lucky ones.
Other Canadians who are still overseas and trying to get home are facing fewer flights, and new federal regulations that go into effect Wednesday.
Chief among them: those who exhibit coronavirus symptoms will not be allowed to board flights to Canada and must remain abroad.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said those who choose to remain out the country, or are stranded because of their health, will be able to access consular and financial support, including up to $5,000 in emergency funding.
It’s remains unclear how the government plans to support Canadians who contract the coronavirus abroad and who may or may not not be covered under their travel health insurance.
And the Resels added that all travellers who do make it home need to set a good example, and do their part to stop the spread.
“At least 14 days and who knows after that,” Jack Resels said. “It’s going to be a few months before things get back to, hopefully, normal.”
Canadians abroad who need assistance are asked to contact Global Affairs Canada at +1 613 996 8885 or email firstname.lastname@example.org