Destination BC is keeping a close eye on the Coronavirus activity world wide. Visit their Coronavirus update page here, which they are keeping current and updating as needed. Destination BC is working closely with Provincial and Federal agencies, Destination Canada and industry partners to actively monitor the COVID-19 outbreak, and the impact on travellers and our industry. Please refer to their website, which is being continually updated as new information becomes available.
Their update from February 28, 2020, was as follows:
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Canada continues to be a safe travel destination. The Public Health Agency of Canada is actively monitoring the current outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and working with the World Health Organization and other international partners.
Destination BC is working closely with Destination Canada – the lead agency for tourism promotion in China – as the situation evolves. We will align with them on the deployment of any marketing activities in market, and decisions will be made collectively as shifts in tactics are needed.
While keeping health and safety top of mind, we are working hard to gather information from partners and officials on new developments as it relates to our sector. We are committed to keeping industry updated as new information becomes available. Please check this page frequently for updates.
Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)
The current assessment indicates that the overall risk to Canadians remains low. Public health risk is being continually reassessed as new information becomes available. For up-to-date and reliable information about the coronavirus and Canada’s response to this issue, visit PHAC’s online resources here.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have issued a joint statement on international cooperation as key to the containment of COVID-19. Read it here.
Prevention and planning
BC’s health officials have advised that for the general public no special precautions are recommended beyond the usual measures to prevent infection from other common respiratory viruses. You can find preventative information here on the PHAC’s website and call the Health Canada 2019 coronavirus information line at 1-833-784-4397 with further questions.
To ensure our sector can effectively contribute to the containment of COVID-19, cooperation is key. Businesses can do their part in preventing potential transmission by referring to WHO’s Getting Your Workplace Ready for COVID-19 here.
Large-scale event organizers are encouraged to refer to WHO’s Key Planning Recommendations for Mass Gatherings in the Context of the Current COVID-19 Outbreak here.
Travellers are encouraged to read the PHAC travel advisory here. Canadian travellers are advised to sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service here to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or at home.
At this time, Immigration Canada has temporarily closed all of its visa application centres in mainland China until further notice. As a precautionary measure, China has also curtailed travel to varying degrees, both domestically and internationally. According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, Chinese carriers have to make sure there are flights remaining on each approved international route following the majority of foreign carriers’ suspension of their China flights. You can find inbound travel suspension information on the Canadian Inbound Tourism Association’s (Asia Pacific) website here.
Flights and border services
YVR is working with the PHAC and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to facilitate and implement health-screening measures at the airport. You can find more information about measures underway at YVR here.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has issued guidelines related to the coronavirus effective February 7. You can find the enhanced protocols for cruise passengers and crew who have recently traveled from or through China, including Hong Kong and Macau, here.
British Columbia’s cruise season does not kick off until April and we are actively monitoring the situation with the Port of Vancouver and Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA). Victoria will be welcoming four additional calls after Celebrity Cruises cancelled its Asia routes, bringing an anticipated 8,000-9,000 more passengers to Vancouver Island in April and May. Protocols are in place for any vessel docking, which are managed in coordination between the GVHA, port agents, terminal operators, Island Health, and provincial health officers.
Find Destination Canada’s update on Rendez-vous Canada 2020 here.
HOW TO SUPPORT VISITORS
Seeking medical attention
- All travellers who are visiting BC and begin to feel ill can seek medical attention at local hospitals or urgent care centres.
- Symptoms of a coronavirus infection include, but are not limited to, fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and difficulty breathing.
- If a visitor has traveled to the area around Wuhan, China and develops symptoms of coronavirus infection, they must seek medical attention.
- Note: In suspected cases of the coronavirus, it is important to call ahead to the hospital, doctor or urgent care centre first for advice. Where language may be a barrier, tour operators, accommodation providers, and other tourism businesses can provide support by offering to contact a health-care professional on the visitor’s behalf.
- For travellers who suspect they might have coronavirus symptoms, they should provide health-care professionals with the following info (via phone):
- Where they have been travelling or living;
- If they had direct contact with animals (for example, if they visited a live animal market);
- If they had close contact with a sick person, especially someone with a fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
- International mobile phones, on a Canadian network, should be able to access the following phone numbers:
- For non-emergency situations only, call 8-1-1. This is a free-of-charge provincial health information and advice phone line operated by HealthLink BC. Translation services are available in more than 130 languages.
- In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1.
- Find the nearest hospital or health centre here.
- Visit Health Link BC’s website: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/coronavirus-covid-19
- Call the Health Canada 2019 novel coronavirus information line, available in either French or English: 1-833-784-4397