Here are the biggest headlines surrounding the novel coronavirus in British Columbia for March 19:
More updates from Justin Trudeau
The Prime Minister has scheduled another national address for today from his home in Ottawa. The last few days, Justin Trudeau has announced several temporary changes to Canadian policies including closing our borders to visitors and unveiling a massive $82 billion relief package to help citizens and small businesses. One step that has not been taken by the feds yet is invoking the Emergency Measures Act. The PM will make his address at 8 am PT. You can watch live on the CHEK Facebook Page.
BC updates continue as scheduled
BC Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will continue to update the situation in British Columbia daily. Yesterday the duo revealed that there were 45 new confirmed cases in the province, bringing the total to 231. On Vancouver Island the reported number of cases have climbed to 16. Dix and Dr. Henry are set to give there update at 3 pm PT.
Victoria byelection postponed
The province says it is postponing upcoming byelections in four communities over the threat of COVID-19, including Victoria. The Victoria byelection was scheduled for April 4 to fill the council seat vacated by Laurel Collins, who was elected Victoria’s MP in last October’s federal election. The province says the action was requested by both public health officials and local government members to ensure residents are not required to gather in polling stations.
BC Transit limiting service
Lower ridership as a result of COVID-19, along with driver demand will likely mean BC Transit cancels some of its daily routes in Greater Victoria. Commuters are being asked to monitor BC Transit’s website or the NextRide website for updates in order to stay on top of any cancellations. As for what routes will be affected, that’s still uncertain.
Daycares stay open…for now
The B-C government is considering concerns by parents who fear losing their kids’ spots while caring for them at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Provincial health officer Doctor Bonnie Henry said several ministries are aware of that issue, but daycares should remain open for the sake of parents working to provide essential services.
ICBC operating from a distance
Drivers who need their vehicle-insurance renewed will have to use their phone or email while brokers’ offices are closed during the COVID-19 outbreak. ICBC president Nicolas Jimenez says the health and safety of customers and employees are a top priority so business has to be done differently for now. Besides insurance renewals, other services such as cancellation and policy changes can also be done by phone and email.
Another cruise ship nightmare
Global Affairs Canada says at least 77 Canadians are on the Costa Luminosa cruise ship that just recently docked in Marseille, France. According to officials, there have been ‘several’ confirmed cases of coronavirus on board during the ship’s trans-Atlantic journey. The ship is allowed to be quarantined for up to four days.
Italy’s deaths could pass China
Italy is on track to surpass China in the number of coronavirus-related deaths. Italy hit a total of 2,978 deaths on Wednesday after another 475 people died. The country has been averaging nearly 350 deaths a day for the past four days and could possibly pass China’s death toll of 3,249 on Thursday.