Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge across B.C., Canada and throughout the world. The COVID-19 virus has spread from country to country and we have seen the terrible toll it has taken in China, Iran, Italy and many other countries. There have been new preventative and containment measures put in place by both the federal and provincial governments, and more are expected soon. These are unprecedented times and our government officials are doing what they can to ensure public safety, including closing Canada’s borders to all non-residents. American citizens are currently an exception to this travel ban. However, like Health Minister Adrian Dix, my view is that all non-essential travellers from the United States should not be allowed entry to British Columbia at this time.
We are facing a possibly unprecedented health crisis – our hospitals are making rapid preparations, and health officials are redeploying staff in readiness for further cases. Our healthcare professionals and workers are doing their best, and we owe it to them and to each other to do the same. We all have an important role to play in combating COVID-19. We have to do everything that we can to stop the transmission of this virus from person to person. We all have a duty to one another, whether we are in a high-risk group or not, to prevent infection and avoid spreading the virus. Those most vulnerable to COVID-19 – those with compromised immunity and senior citizens – are counting on every single one of us to do our part as a community.
As we all do our part by social distancing and isolating ourselves as best as possible, we need to make sure we’re looking out for one another and checking in on those who need us most. Prolonged periods of isolation, especially when coupled with fear of a pandemic, will increase anxiety, and stress. This will be especially true for seniors living on their own. Please make a point of checking in with your friends, family, and neighbours during this difficult time. Without establishing physical contact, we can all make sure those around us are in good spirits. If all of us take the time to call one of our immediate neighbours every day, we will end up in a much better place once this is over.
Due to the nature of this pandemic, things are changing at a rapid pace. We have to do everything we can to “flatten the curve” of the infection so I’m again encouraging everyone to please follow the advice of our healthcare professionals and avoid sharing misinformation online. Reliable sources like the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization can be counted upon for the most accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19.
I want to assure all British Columbians that, as the Official Opposition, we are working closely and on a daily basis with Health Minister Adrian Dix and his staff in order to provide a constructive approach while we all work to fight this virus.
This is a time for all elected officials to ensure that the people of this province are able to stay safe, healthy and supported during these challenging times.
In these trying times, please look after yourselves, your loved ones, and your neighbours. If we help each other, practice social distancing, follow medical advice, and allow our health care system to take care of those who are ill, then together we will defeat COVID-19.
Leader of the B.C. Liberal Party